Chennai Super Kings are out of reckoning for the IPL play-offs after losing to Mumbai Indians on Thursday, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hinted that his side will come back stronger next season with more fast bowlers in their arsenal.
MI beat CSK by five wickets in a low-scoring match to send the Dhoni-led side out of the reckoning for a play-offs berth.
MI chased down a target of 98 with 31 balls to spare.
"The fast bowlers, to have both of them (Mukesh Choudhary and Simarjeet Singh) bowling really well is a big positive. Not to forget we'll have two more fast bowlers coming in the next season and we have a few more up our sleeves. We just want to give them ample time to prepare for what the IPL holds for them," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
"So we have a few positives that we'll take into the next season but what is important is that whatever gaps are there, to try to fill in those gaps so that leakages don't happen."
The former India captain was happy that the IPL has seen the rise of many fast bowlers. "It's good to have them. We have gone through a period where we never had extraordinary bench strength with fast bowlers. Also what happens is fast bowlers, they take their time to mature. If you're lucky, you get somebody who in six months' time can feature in all the different formats, whether Test cricket, one-day or T20. I feel that's what IPL is doing.
"It's an opportunity for them and a lot of them become slightly more bold and a bit more courageous which is important in a format like this. They want to take the opposition head-on and that has been the difference.
"You see a few who are not those types, who shy away initially but as they play more games, they get more and more confident and are able to execute their plans better."
He said irrespective of the nature of the wicket, anything below 130 was difficult to defend. "I asked the bowlers to show a lot of character, put the opposition under pressure and forget about the result. I feel both the young fast bowlers bowled really well. As far as their contribution is concerned, I feel a game like this really helps them.
"It's something that they start believing in themselves. Whenever we start, we need the same kind of attitude and that's what is needed in the shortest format." During the CSK innings, Dhoni ran out of partners, leaving him stranded at 36.
Asked what he said to his batters, Dhoni stated, "What was important is that when you're batting under that kind of pressure, it's the first few deliveries that are important. I said to be themselves. If they want to hit the first delivery, then go for it. It's a chance for survival.
"If they pass those first few deliveries, then they can be themselves. It didn't pay off but at the same time the opposition bowled really well and a bit of application was needed from our side. A few of our batters got out on good deliveries.
"We can't really help that but other than that these are the kind of games where you learn a lot so hopefully they are learning from each and every game." MI captain Rohit Sharma said looking at how the pitch was playing and his team losing wickets upfront, there were tense moments in the middle.
"It was just about keeping calm and getting the job done. We were a little calm and got the job done in the end," he said.
"We have played a lot of cricket here. We've had pitches like this. It's nice to get bowlers into the game as well at times. It's been batting-friendly all over, it was good to see bounce and swing from both sides which was good to watch."
MI have already been out of reckoning for a play-off berth. On the future of the team, he said, "We are keeping one eye (on the future), we want to win games and at the same time we try out certain players. There are options that we still want to try."
He said batter Tilak Varma, who took MI home with an unbeaten 34, can play for India soon. "He (Tilak) has been brilliant, playing for the first year, having such a calm head is never easy. I feel he's going to be an all-format player for India pretty soon. He's got the technique and temperament. And there's hunger as well."
On pacer Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit said, "He knows what he needs to do and what the team expects him to do. He understands, magnificent spell upfront." Asked about veteran Kieron Pollard, who did not play on Thursday, the skipper said, "He's been a stalwart, he came out and said that he's okay with that."