They reached their eighth IPL final, and came within one ball of winning their fourth title, but MS Dhoni doesn't think Chennai Super Kings played "very good cricket" along the way. Middle-order batting, he felt, was one area that "never clicked".
After losing a seesawing final in dramatic circumstances, Dhoni summed up the contest in typically pithy fashion: both teams made a lot of mistakes, and kept "passing the trophy to each other".
"As a team we had a good season," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation. "But I think we need to go back and reflect as to how we reached the finals, and I don't think it was one of those years where we played very good cricket and we got into the finals. I think there was plenty that could have been done from our side, especially in the middle-order batting, it never really clicked for us from the start, but somehow we were able to manage.
"Today also, losing the game always hurts, but today was one game that we should have done slightly better. And looking at it as an IPL final, I think both the teams, it was quite funny: we were just passing the trophy to each other. We committed a lot of mistakes, and Mumbai Indians also did the same. At the end of the day the winning team was the one that committed one mistake less than the other team.
"I think it was a very good final, it went close, last ball, so couldn't have gone better, but overall I think we need to go back to the drawing board and see the areas where we need to improve for next season."
Dhoni credited his bowling attack for keeping Super Kings competitive through the season, but stressed that there were gaps that the team would need to plug to maintain their levels next season.
"I think the bowlers did very well for us," he said. "Even today, if you see, it was not a 150 wicket. It was definitely a more than 150 wicket. But the bowlers throughout the tournament they kept us into the hunt, and they kept performing, they kept getting wickets when it was really needed. And batting also, overall, somebody kept chipping in, and that's how we kept winning games, and whenever the bowlers restricted the opposition to a decent score, we were able to chase it down.
"I think that's how we did fairly well in the tournament. But again, you know, to be consistent, to come back next year, and try to get into the knockout stages of the tournament I think we'll have to really think hard."
As to whether he would be back next year, Dhoni kept it enigmatic. Sanjay Manjrekar, the commentator on presentation duty, concluded his interview by telling Dhoni, "well done, and we'll see you again next season."
Dhoni's response was brief. "Hopefully, yes."