Only when Yuvraj Singh came dashing into his arms, the India captain broke into a sheepish grin; as stoically, he turned towards the stumps and picked up one before being whisked away on shoulders by his delirious teammates once he lofted a Nuwan Kulasekara delivery over long-on and won back India the World Cup after 28 years.
Born in Ranchi, in July 1981, little Dhoni began to idolise the three legends of that time: Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar; he was good at badminton and football but his coach, impressed by his goalkeeping skills, sent him to play cricket.
He worked his way up, playing all age-group tournaments as a wicketkeeper who could bat a bit. As an 18-year-old, he made his debut for Bihar in the Ranji Trophy. Folklore has it that in his off time, Dhoni would whizz around on a second-hand bike, worth all of Rs 4500, while he played tennis-ball cricket.
Yet, Dhoni remained under the radar till he was picked for the India A side in 2004 as selectors looked beyond the traditional cricket pockets for talent; he promptly slammed two centuries in the one-day triangular series in Nairobi to showcase himself. With flowing hair, a fearless attitude and a wider smile, he compelled attention.
Two spectacular knocks for Team India - 148 vs Pakistan in Vizag and 183 vs Sri Lanka in Jaipur ensured that he emerged as the rock star of the game. His technique was flawed, both, in front and behind the wickets, but he turned it into his strength.
As he became larger than life, the pressure however slowly got to him; he turned aloof and reclusive as a person, cautious and careful as a captain and a lot more circumspect as a batsman. His reputation as the ultimate finisher, however, remained undiminished.
He became an unstoppable force after joining Chennai Super Kings, rising to become the most powerful cricketer in the country. The first chinks, however, began to surface in Test cricket, as India failed to cope with their demands and rigours. As the team underwent a generational change, he became fallible.
In a surprising move, he even gave up Test captaincy. Like everything he does, there was a plan behind it: the World Cup. Dhoni knows he will become a hero forever if he guides India to another triumph. However, it may not be a fairy-tale ending.
India have been struggling in Australia, failing to even make the finals of the tri-series. The batting doesn't look solid and the bowling doesn't is far from instilling confidence. He will have to do something really special to lift the side from here. It is possible only if he leads from the front, batting like only he can. One good knock, up the order, can infuse life into this side and make it look totally different. If anybody can do it, it's Dhoni.