Rohit Sharma vs MS Dhoni: Who is the Best Captain in the IPL

The Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings teams are two of the best teams in Indian Premier League history. The two IPL teams have dominated the tournament in such a way that they have won the IPL trophy 5 times each (3 more than the next highest, i.e., Kolkata Knight Riders with 2). Crazy to think that in 16 seasons of the IPL, these two teams have won the cup a combined 10 times each. Behind all this success of both these teams are the two best captains in IPL history, Rohit Sharma for Mumbai Indians and MS Dhoni for Chennai Super Kings. But who is the greatest captain ever? Which Team is better? Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings?

Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni: The Best Captains in the IPL

Let’s find that out through numbers and stats and find out, between Rohit Sharma vs MS Dhoni – Who is the greatest captain in the Indian Premier League (IPL) history?

Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) –  The El Clasico of the IPL:

MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma greet each other before an MI vs CSK IPL match

Credit: English Jagran

Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings is the best rivalry in the IPL. This rivalry is also called the El Clasico of the cricket world. This rivalry is not only just due to the cricketing terms but so much more. It’s about the cities, it’s about the cultures of their home cities and states. Mumbai and Chennai are two of the biggest Indian cities. Both are capitals of states with the highest economic output (GDP) in India: Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. They are also the biggest cities on the west and east coasts, respectively. Plus, they house the two biggest film industries in India: Bollywood (Hindi) in Mumbai and Kollywood (Tamil) in Chennai. Hence, the rivalry exists way beyond the cricket pitch

The MI vs CSK match is the most played IPL fixture, with the teams having faced each other 36 times. These 36 encounters also include the 4 IPL finals they played against each other in 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2019. The root of this rivalry was in 2008, in the inaugural season of the IPL. CSK emerged victorious in a thrilling encounter, laying the foundation for what would become an intense and enduring rivalry. Since then, they have crossed paths on numerous occasions, with some of the most memorable encounters taking place in the IPL finals.

2010 IPL Final:

CSK Team after winning the 2010 IPL Trophy

Credit: DNA India

The Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) 2010 IPL final was the first time these two teams met on the biggest stage. CSK beat MI in a one-sided match with Suresh Raina’s masterclass with the bat and Ravichandran Ashwin and Muralitharan’s economic spin bowling spells. 

2013 IPL Final:

The 2013 Mumbai Indians IPL Team celebrating with the IPL Trophy

Credit: The Indian Express

In the 2013 IPL Season, MI was a struggling side losing their initial matches and even the road to playoffs looked tough for them. But they fought hard and carried on with the momentum to reach the finals vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) which was to be held at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It was Keiron Pollard’s and Lasith Malinga’s individual brilliance with the bat that they beat CSK to lift their first IPL trophy. 

2015 IPL Final:

The 2015 season was similar for MI, with a slow start to the tournament and then reaching the finals, which was once again the El Clasico of the IPL, Mumbai vs Chennai. Chennai were playing their sixth IPL final on the way to winning their third title but were handed a 41-run defeat by MI. Mumbai’s captain Rohit Sharma was awarded man of the match for his blistering half-century.

2019 IPL Final:

Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings 2019 Final was one of the closest IPL finals ever played where the margin of win and defeat was only a single run. Batting first, MI presented a target of 149 runs. The Super Kings had a good start to the game, with Shane Watson firing 80 runs and they looked on an easy path to victory. The game changed in the death over of the chase with a quick fall of wickets. Lasith Maling showed his class in the final over taking a wicket on the last ball of the game to win the match for MI by 1 run, stopping CSK at 148 runs. This was MI’s 4th IPL title victory.

Overall in the 36 MI vs CSK games played, Mumbai has won 20 times to Chennai’s 16. While the stat suggests the teams have always had close encounters, MI has always been the better team and beating a team in the finals is not an easy task. So in the Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings debate, we believe MI has been the better side in the past decade. 

MS Dhoni vs Rohit Sharma - Who is the best captain in IPL history?

Both MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are the greats of the game and both can be considered the best captains in IPL history. With the bat too, the two are in the top run scorers of the IPL. Let’s compare the batting stats of both MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma:

Stat

Rohit Sharma

MS Dhoni

Matches

243

250

Runs

6211

5082

Highest Score

109*

84*

Batting Average

29.58

38.79

Strike Rate

130.05

135.92

100s

1

0

50s

42

24


Though it’s not fair to compare the batsmen that Rohit and Dhoni are because of the position that they bat in, i.e. Rohit is an opener and Dhoni usually plays as a lower middle order finishing batsman, it’s crucial to look at how important these two have been for their teams with the bat. Rohit Sharma is one of the best opening batsmen in the IPL has scored about 1000 more runs with a total of 6211 compared to Dhoni's 5082. However, Dhoni has always been the best finisher in the league and has a higher batting average of 38.79 and a higher strike rate with 135.92 compared to Sharma's 29.58 and 130.05. While in the past few seasons, neither batsman have had a very good season with their bats, but the potential they hold can define the season of their teams. 

Also Read: Most Runs in the IPL | GOAT of Cricket

No doubt that these two players are two of the best players to play in the league, but the most important ability that they have is of winning the matches for their teams with the strategies, risk taking appetite and the team culture that they have built. You don’t create domination without having a philosophy. While MS Dhoni’s has led the Chennai Super Kings with calm and composure and a trust on the old guard with more experienced players than the youngsters, Mumbai's success has been primarily attributed to Sharma's bold leadership style, gutsy decision-making abilities and a massive trust on youngsters. Dhoni has made the CSK hands down the most consistent team in the IPL, finishing in the playoffs in 12 occasions and reaching the finals in 10 seasons and winning it 5 time. Though their winning record in the finals hasn’t been great, you cannot deny that they are one of the best teams ever. Rohit Sharma on the other hand kickstarted the Mumbai Indians’ domination in the IPL. MI was always one of the better teams in the league but never could take the final step towards success, until 2013, when Rohit Sharma was made the full-time captain of the side. Since then, they have lifted the trophy 5 times. This makes the debate of MS Dhoni vs Rohit Sharma for the the best captain in IPL very difficult to conclude. Let’s look at the win-loss record of both the captains of the league. 

Player

Matches

Matches Won

Matches Lost

Win %

MS Dhoni

226

133

91

59.37%

Rohit Sharma

158

87

67

56.32%

 

MS Dhoni batting for CSK

Credit: Crictoday

MS Dhoni has a higher win percentage (59.37%) as compared to Rohit Sharma (56.32%) while even captaining for about 80 more matches, which is a very commendable stat. Moreover, Dhoni has had to change and adapt his batting and tactical style to the changing abilities of T20 players, as the Australian Coach says, Dhoni has won trophies with both, very good squads and average squads. Also, Mumbai has always had one of the best squads in any IPL season but has been inconsistent over the seasons. It’s also about longevity, where MS was made captain of the CSK side in the 2008 IPL season and still continues to skipper the side. So, for his longevity, his tactical brilliance, and capability to adapt, MS Dhoni is the best captain in IPL history. And there are not many who would disagree.

Conclusion:

Both Dhoni and Rohit are two of IPL's best captains but it is important to understand that both the players are at the end of their captaincy careers in the league. While it has always been a question of whether MSD will play another season in the league and who would be his successor, Hardik Pandya has already been appointed the captain of the Mumbai Indians’ side over Rohit for the 2024 season. Even after their tenure, their legacies in the league as the best captains will always stay cemented.

Now that you have read about the best captain in IPL history, here are some more articles we recommend reading:

AB de Villiers | Gautam Gambhir | Yuvraj Singh


2 comments


  • Aditya

    MS is the baap of everyone
    Mumbai Indians are the biggest match fixers as they had their fu*k*r Ambani family


  • Pavan Shinde

    Ms Dhoni is most success captain


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