MS Dhoni, the Chennai Super Kings captain, has put his side's crushing loss to Mumbai Indians down to a lack of focus following their seven-game winning streak in IPL 2013. The batting in the chase of 140, Dhoni said, was "a comedy of errors".
"Before the match our coach Stephen Fleming was a bit worried about us being complacent. I think that was on the cards after winning seven games in a row. Mentally we were not into this game at all," Dhoni said after the game. "We should have got 140. There was a comedy of errors, especially, in the batting department."
Super Kings folded for the lowest score in IPL 2013, bowled out for 79 in the 16th over. The Mumbai Indians bowlers were very efficient, but several of the batsmen threw away their wickets. While it was a nightmare evening for the team, Dhoni said he was happy they were shaken up at this stage of the tournament. "I think it was a good wake-up call for us," he said. "With a few more games to go, we got it at the right time."
Coach Fleming reflected Dhoni's thoughts: "It was the first day in the tournament which we would like to forget. I guess the positive part about this defeat is that it happened now. Four more games are left [for Super Kings in the round-robin stage] and it's a pretty long tournament to maintain your standards.
"But winning seven in a row was a pretty good effort. The nature of the competition is such that it [winning eight consecutive games] has not been done before. There is a reason for that because getting up every day, performing well and being consistent is tough work. Today we were not just good enough to do that."
Both Dhoni and Fleming agreed that Super Kings' bowlers did a good job. "The way we started the match was fantastic. We also got wickets at regular intervals," Dhoni said. "[Dwayne] Bravo bowled really well. It was a mistake on my part that I didn't give him another over. Having said that, death bowling still remains a concern."
Fleming said the pitch was a bit different from the usual offerings in the IPL, but that did not justify his team's implosion. "It was a little different to what we have been playing on. The spongy nature of the Mumbai wicket made stroking the ball a bit difficult. There wasn't a lot of sideways movement or lot of spin. Just the nature of the bounce was a bit different to any other pitch. But that's not an excuse for being bowled out for 70-odd."
For the second time in the tournament, R Ashwin received a rather baffling promotion up the order. In the game against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, Ashwin opened with Super Kings chasing 120. Here, with Super Kings 18 for 4, he came out at No. 6 ahead of Dhoni. Fleming said that decision was taken to try to stabilise the innings before the finishers came in. "Ashwin is a capable bat. The most important thing was stopping the wickets.
"In not chasing a big total, it did not matter wasting two-three overs. We have faith in Ashwin and thought if he can get a 10 to 20-run partnership going with Hussey it may change the game with the likes of Dhoni and [Ravindra] Jadeja to come."