Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni has admitted his team's batsmen badly faltered during the chase against Kolkata Knight Riders after the bowlers had inspired a dramatic comeback.
CSK's middle-order floundered under lights in Abu Dhabi as they failed to chase down 168 despite being vaulted into a dominant position following a steady stand between Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu.
"In the middle overs, there was a phase when they bowled two-three good overs," Dhoni bemoaned after his team's 10-run loss.
"Then we lost two-three wickets in a row. If our batting was different during that period, the result would have been different."
In the first innings, CSK roared back into the contest on the back of strong death overs bowling from Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran and Shardul Thakur. Spinner Karn Sharma also did well to prise out two KKR scalps and restrict them to 167 all out.
"Initially, we gave away a few too many with the new ball. Karn [Sharma] did really well. The bowlers did well to bring them down to 160-odd. As a team, we should have achieved the target but the batsmen let the bowlers down," Dhoni assessed.
Facing criticism for coming in late down the order, Dhoni promoted himself to No. 4 but was dismissed cheaply by Varun Chakravarthy, managing to hit only one boundary in his 12-ball stay at the crease.
"Rotation of strike is always important. At times we have to judge the deliveries. There were hardly any boundaries in the last three overs," Dhoni said.
"You have to be slightly innovative in these scenarios. If someone is bowling just back of a length, you have to find a way to hit boundaries. We did not adapt well."
Meanwhile, Kolkata captain Dinesh Karthik was delighted with the outcome and heaped praise on the Caribbean star duo of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine for their disciplined bowling that dried up the runs for the Super Kings.
"There are some key players for every team. Narine is one for us. Least we can do is back him. Two-three poor games don't matter," Karthik commented.