Kolkata: Mahendra Singh Dhoni notched up his maiden List A hundred for Jharkhand to guide the side to a comprehensive 78-run victory over Chattisgarh in a group D Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day fixture on Sunday.
Dhoni survived some anxious moments en route a 107-ball 129 but the effort was just enough to steer the team home. Chattisgarh skipper Mohammed Kaif won the toss and sent Jharkhand in. Jharkhand were looking down the barrel at 43/5 in 14.4 overs, but former India skipper along with Shahbaz Nadeem (53 from 90 balls) propped the total to 243/9 with a handsome 151-run seventh-wicket partnership that came off 166 balls.
The Indian icon's career-best in domestic one-dayers was studded with six sixes and 10 boundaries but it was not a typical Dhoni knock as he survived a few close calls before reaching his first century for Jharkhand.
The first life came when he was yet to open his account and stayed on after a loud caught-behind appeal against Abhuday Kant Singh (4/33), the wrecker-in-chief for Chattisgarh.
Later, he survived a close leg-before shout from debutant leg spinner Shubham Agarwal that hit Dhoni on the backfoot when he was on 34.
On 95, Dhoni was dropped by Kaif, a regulation catch at short extra cover. Dhoni stayed on till the last ball and was finally dismissed by a Shourabh Kharwar (1/53) when a skier was taken safely by glovesman Manoj Singh. But by then, Dhoni had rescued Jharkhand from being on the mat.
This was Dhoni's 17th List A century, which included 10 in ODIs, and first in domestic one-dayers since February 8, 2005 when he had scored an unbeaten 102 for India Seniors in the Challengers Trophy against India B.
Dhoni scored a century for Bihar against Assam during the Ranji One-Dayers in 2003-04 but never had a century for Jharkhand and he bettered that today with a career-best knock at domestic level. Dhoni also has two centuries each for East Zone and India A.
In reply, Chattisgarh innings folded for 165 in 38.4 overs as Dhoni brilliantly shuffled his bowlers with Varun Aaron and Shahbaz Nadeem claiming three wickets each.
Reduced to 69/3 inside 16 overs, Kaif looked to build the innings but Dhoni ended the Chattisgarh captain's stay with a run out for 23 before Nadeem ran through the tail with his 3/36.