Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the batsmen let the team down after a spirited comeback by the bowlers in their Indian Premier League match against Kolkata Knight Riders, in Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday.
Chasing 168, Australia veteran Shane Watson, opening the innings, struck his second successive fifty to give Chennai a perfect start, but the team choked at the back-end of the innings and was restricted to 157 for five. It was their fourth defeat from five matches.
"In the middle overs, there was a phase when they bowled two-three good overs. Then we lost two-three wickets in a row. If our batting was different during that period, the result would have been different," Dhoni said, at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Earlier, 'Birthday Boy' Dwayne Bravo bowled a perfect final over to finish with figures of 3 for 37, while the trio of Sam Curran, Shradul Thakur and Karn Sharma claimed two each as Chennai bowled Kolkata out for 167.
"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 promoted himself to No. 4, but was cleaned up by spinner Varun Chakravarthy, while Sam Curran became Andre Russell's victim after a brisk 11-ball 17.
"Rotation of strike is always important. At times we have to judge the deliveries. There were hardly any boundaries in the last three overs.
"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," Dhoni said.
Having returned to winning ways, Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik was all praise for his team, especially the duo of Sunil Narine (1/31 from four overs) and Andre Russell (1/18 from two overs) for their tidy bowling at the death.
"There are some key players for every team. Narine is one for us. Least we can do is back him. Two-three poor games doesn't matter," Karthik said.
Asked about their changed batting order, he said: "Our batting is very fluid. I started at three, today I batted at seven. The way those guys batted at the start, they batted very well."