Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni said Friday, April 20 that the two-time champions have entered an "unknown territory" in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season after making a solid start with three wins from four matches so far.
Dhoni acknowledged that CSK teams of the past had started slow and picked up steam towards the business end of the tournament. Notably, the Chennai-based franchise had more often than not, scraped through to the knockout stages of the tournament in the first eight seasons of the cash-rich league.
CSK's two-match winning run was brought to halt by Kings XI Punjab Sunday, April 15 in Mohali. There was pressure on the Dhoni-led team as they were gearing up for their first "home game" in Pune after IPL matches were shifted out of Chennai over Cauvery river-sharing issue.
Nonetheless, Shane Watson helped CSK start their Pune stint on a high by slamming 57-ball 106 against his former franchise, Rajasthan Royals. Comeback man Suresh Raina chipped in as the hosts posted 204 on the board and eventually sealed a 64-run win.
"Big game for us, we lost the last one. It's like an unknown territory for us. CSK is used to being slightly behind, before getting into the groove. This year has been different. Everyone has contributed," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony, as quoted by Cricbuzz.
IPL long-ish tournament, have to be fit: Dhoni
Meanwhile, Dhoni also reiterated the need for fitness in the CSK camp, which has 11 players aged 30 and above.
The team has already witnessed a few injury scares as Kedar Jadhav was ruled out of the tournament after he suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener. Raina missed a match with a niggle while Dhoni himself suffered a back injury Sunday.
"Have to keep the fitness levels up, most of us are over 30. It's a long-ish tournament, have to be fit. Experience really counts. No point getting injured when you're trying to stop a single or a double. The kind of players we've got, they'll always make that up," Dhoni said.
"We've got a few good fielders who are very good. They are doing most of the work when it comes to the boundary fielding. Just want to keep the players fit."
CSK, with six points from four games, are on top of the table and are tied on points with Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and KXIP. Dhoni's men will travel to Hyderabad for their next match of the tournament against SRH on Sunday, April 22.