Chennai Super Kings beat Kings XI Punjab by five wickets which knocked R Ashwin’s side out of the tournament and helped Rajasthan Royals enter the play-offs.
Dhoni, CSK captain: If you see their bowling line-up, it was definitely swinging a bit more for Ankit. From a captain’s perspective, you want to take as many wickets upfront. So sending in Bhajji and Chahar creates chaos. The bowlers all of a sudden bowl yorkers and bouncers. When batsmen are batting, they stick to a good line and length, but against Bhajji and Chahar, they lose their line and lengths, instead of sticking to the plan. Plus Bhajji and Chahar could come in handy during the playoffs. Owners have been brilliant. We have a set of people who are close to the players. They have a history of understanding the game. That makes the job easy for the captain. Also if you don’t have a good team, it becomes difficult. We kept adding players and they kept performing. The big shift will be after two years, where most of these players won’t be there. Maybe they won’t be fit for the shortest format. Looking at ten years, it has been very good for us. We like to do the process right because that’s what gives you the result. There are quite a few finals where I still remember what went wrong. When the format is like this, just a couple of big hits or a run-out can change things. Everyone wants to win. They’ve done well to go into the knockout stages. The top two teams they get extra life. What’s important is to be at your best on that particular day.
Deepak Chahar: I got my opportunity today after a long time. I have been waiting for my chances. From the first match I have liked bowling here. There is a bit of breeze blowing across. Today also it was a moving a bit in the initial stage. It is good for the confidence; getting an opportunity to bat. Now if I get a chance to bat in the playoffs I will do good for the team. I was a swing bowler basically, but have worked on my pace for the last six years. We have been waiting for this opportunity for two years and looking forward to the playoffs. He (Watson) was rested. If KKR would have lost yesterday, even I would be rested today.
R Ashwin, KXIP captain: Tough days at the office. We didn’t bat very well. Lost three wickets in the powerplay and from there it was going to be catch-up. Karun got us a good score but it was always 20-30 runs below par. We put down a catch. It never came together in the latter half of the tournament. We had a decent April but a horrible May. We had Ankit who swung it around in this conditions. Should’ve latched onto the catch, but that happens in cricket. Even in the first half we were playing in Mohali. KL and Gayle were making most of the runs but the middle-order didn’t click at all which was expected, which hurt us in the latter half of the tournament. Ankit did really well, and of course KL was amazing. We have the purple cap holder in Tye as well. So loads of positives but we haven’t applied ourselves. We haven’t commanded any respect at all in terms of getting results on our own terms. The game against RCB costed a lot, not only in terms of run-rate but especially in terms of morale. We were not really there in terms of performance on such a day, but CSK were better today. A good team culture will help us win tournaments in the future, so I’d like to build that culture slowly in this new-look franchise and we’ll look to do much better next time.