Following 307 days without a hit, MS Dhoni, 42,

Until Sunday night, he hadn’t hit in a significant game in 307 days. But everyone was brave enough to dream. In a little over three months, he will turn forty-three. Still, a lot of people believed he could manage 72 in 23 deliveries

Welcome to the amazing, strange, and unparalleled world of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Thala has been Captain Cool ever since he signed with the Chennai Super Kings at the start of the Betway India Premier League.

In the words of Virat Kohli, Dhoni showed that he “still got it” in Visakhapatnam on Sunday night. He may have been happily retired from international cricket for a while, but he certainly still cheers for the side that makes him smile, makes him happy, and brings out the best in him on night after incredible night.

It didn’t seem to matter that this was the Delhi Capitals’ official home game. Except for the handful of Delhi Capitals who seemed unconcerned with the result, yellow and yellowish-white was the dominating color scheme at Dafabet App that evening.

Enthralled with Dhoni, fans at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium had been eagerly awaiting Thala’s debut at bat in victories over the Gujarat Titans and Royal Challengers Bengaluru. He avoided cutting the talisman with his scimitar, though. With CSK floundering at 120 for six at the start of the 17th over and requiring 192 to win, he had no choice on Sunday as Mukesh Kumar’s onslaught was devouring their last realistic hope, Shivam Dube.

The ground shook a little when My 11 Circle India, with his trademark twitchy temperament in tow, moved towards the centre. The sight of the battle-ready warrior, armed with armor, advancing with his broadsword and evading many defensive thrusts was enough to send the stadium into uproarious joy. Not a single defensive move for the next twenty-five minutes!

Dhoni hit his first ball to the square-leg boundary in more than ten years. Had someone else said it, you could have taken offense at Mukesh, the inexperienced and disrespectful Mukesh, and suggested that he was attempting to push him away. But Dhoni isn’t just any old person, is he? When he noticed the ball, it was in his arc, and he used incredible power, timing, and location to buff it behind square. Is that correct—he hadn’t batted in a game in 307 days? Pfft

And that was just the sumptuous start. The main course arrived with a tremendous burst of energy, fusing the raw strength found in that slender, powerful body with a level of field understanding that only a few people possess. Dhoni might have countered that hitting 72 in 23 wasn’t impossible when he was younger, but this Dhoni, who wasn’t exactly an elderly superstar with diminishing memory, chose to be realistic instead.

The game was over, he told himself and his associate Ravindra Jadeja. Consequently, he used the remaining deliveries to enter the competition and win it against the faster boys, Mukesh, Khaleel Ahmed, who was named player of the match, and the fierce Anrich Nortje.