“We need to look at what we can improve, because you will have games like these. But what is important is to close games like these,” he told the host broadcaster after the game. “Pathirana bowled really well, but other than that, the first six [overs] can get better – especially from the fast bowlers. What is their getaway delivery that they can bowl? Other than that, I’m quite happy with the bowling.”
The numbers agree with Dhoni. With 10.12, CSK have the highest economy rate of all the sides in the powerplay this season. They have also conceded 66 fours and 20 sixes during that phase, again the most among all sides.
“I think 200 was par because we know the conditions well. We needed to bowl the right lengths,” Dhoni said. “I feel there were a few times when we didn’t bowl the right lengths. You don’t really want the batsmen to hit in front. So when you have that kind of a game plan, you don’t want to get hit [on] that side. So what is important to see whether the execution was the problem, or the plan was the problem.
“What was important was to be prepared when the opposition needs so many runs: ‘what is the delivery that i want to bowl’ – whether it’s a yorker or outside-off yorker? You want to use the dimensions of the ground. I think that’s where we committed a bit of fault.”
But, much like they fell short at the back-end of their bowling innings, CSK didn’t do enough in the last few overs while batting either. They were at 158 with eight wickets in hand after 16 overs, but managed only 42 when they seemed headed for a lot more, particularly with Conway well set at the crease, and Moeen Ali having got off to a quick start. It came down to back-to-back sixes off the last two balls of the innings from Dhoni for CSK to eventually touch 200.
“Maybe in the last few overs when we were batting, [we] could we have got another ten runs,” Dhoni said. “Were we in that position to get those extra 10-15 runs? Because our bowling line-up needs a lot more exposure, so is it something that the batsmen could have done? Or is it something that the bowling department needs to look at?”