Chennai:Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday conceded his and opener Matthew Hayden's poor run of form has hit his side hard in the IPL as they now depend on the largess of other teams to qualify for the semifinals.
"Hayden has been our leading player, so him not batting well as he had been has affected us. I have also fired only in a few matches. After the injury, I wasn't 100 per cent sure of what I was doing in the middle. I am a sort of player who loves to spend more time on the wicket," Dhoni said after his side's six-wicket loss to Delhi Daredevils.
Asked about his side's chances for a semifinal spot, Dhoni said, "It's not in our hands now. It depends on Deccan Chargers, who have two matches while we have only one. We have to win our last match and then hope Deccan loss one match. The loss against Kings XI Punjab really hurts us."
Dhoni said the real difference in today's match was Delhi having part-timers like Virender Sehwag and Tillakaratne Dilshan who can turned the ball.
"I think the two part-time spinners, Dilshan and Sehwag bowled brilliantly. That made all the difference. They were spinning the ball quite well while our part-time spinner Suresh Raina isn't a big turner. He just takes the pace off the ball and makes it tough for batsmen to hit sixes," he said.
"But having made only 112 and stretching them to 19 overs shows character. Doug Bollinger bowled brilliantly and R Ashwin has been supporting him well," he added.
Dhoni defended his decision to bat first, saying, "We had been more successful batting first. We love to put runs on the board and then give the bowlers some cushion. Unfortunately, it didn't work today."
Dhoni said Indian players would be in good shape for the Twenty20 World Cup starting on April 30 in the West Indies as they are going into the mega event after playing in a tough IPL.
"We would have played 14 IPL matches (by the time of World Cup). So we are in good shape. I don't think not playing too many warm-up games in the West Indies before the World Cup (to acclimatise to conditions) will make a huge difference as we have played there often and they will mostly prepare batting-friendly wickets," he said.
He though conceded that IPL was draining the players and there were niggles on them.
"Time flies. It is as though the tournament has only started. But it's quite draining, especially at this time of the year. Resultantly, there has been a lot of niggles and cramps, and you realise it only when you get affected," he said.
Dhoni said two good Indian fast bowlers would have made his side more balanced.
"I would have liked to have two good Indian fast bowlers as it could have given more balance to the side. But I am happy with the way this team has shaped up with the amount of resources we had. However, we will miss some of the players next season due to auction."
Delhi batsman Mithun Manhas said his side knew that 113 would not be an easy target to chase down and the top order failure made it more difficult.
"We knew that we will have a hard time at the middle. We were really for that but failure by the top order was not expected and we had to keep looking for runs. Gautam Gambhir played exceedingly well. It was a case of captain leading from the front after an initial collapse," he said.
"If we scored quickly our net run rate could have shot up. But our main aim was to win the game first. We were not actually worried about the run rate," he added.
Asked what was in his mind after he came in after the top order failure, Manhas said, "I was only thinking of not giving away my wicket. I decided to do well to get my eye in the first two overs and then try and stick to the wicket. This plan probably kept the scoreboard ticking and finally we were able to coast home with some balls to spare."
Giving credit to his bowlers Manhas said, "Ashish Nehra bowled exceedingly well considering that there was some bit of spin in the wicket. He was well supported by Dilshan and Mishra to restrict them. All the credit goes to the bowlers."