Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni slammed his bowlers for not committing to plans and executing them during their four-wicket defeat to Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday, May 12.
Dhoni rarely displays his emotions on the field but on Friday the 36-year-old did not hold himself back. He was visibly frustrated as Royals' batsmen Jos Buttler and Krishnappa Gowtham were belting CSK bowlers out of the park with ease at the death in chase of 177 runs.
Dhoni pointed out that David Willey & Co. erred by not bowling back of the length consistently on a track where clearing the boundary with flat-batted strokes was more difficult than hitting it straight into the stands.
The Royals needed 28 runs off the last two and Dhoni entrusted Willey with the task of bowling the crucial 19th over. The Englishman let his skipper down by bowling full deliveries to Gowtham who cleared the boundary twice to help the hosts collect 17 runs off the over.
Buttler tonked one out of the ground in Dwayne Bravo's final over to make sure the Royals collected two crucial points. The wicketkeeper-batsman made sure he made the most of CSK's ordinary bowling and fielding performances with an unbeaten 65-ball 90, his fourth successive half-century this season.
CSK bowlers need to execute plans better: Dhoni
"I think it's the bowling because there was one particular length we were supposed to bowl and the bowlers were instructed as to what they needed to bowl and where they needed to bowl. But I feel the execution was really not there," Dhoni said at the post-match interview.
He added: "You can't get hit, on a wicket that was not coming on that back of the length was the difficult one to hit. I think we at least got hit of boundaries, at least four to five, of full-length deliveries.
"I think a lot of them [CSK bowlers] didn't commit. They need to execute better. That's what I have always said. It's not the plan that goes haywire, it's the execution that goes wrong."
Want to win matches in playoffs: Dhoni
Dhoni also insisted that there was enough on the board for CSK to defend on what was a two-paced wicket, on which batsmen struggled to get going straight away.
While Suresh Raina hit a brisk half-century (35-ball 52), the skipper himself made sure CSK finished with a par score by hitting a 23-ball 33.
"I feel it was a par score, par-plus score. I think the bowlers let us down to some extent," the skipper added.
Meanwhile, Dhoni remained positive about his team's chances of qualifying for the playoffs despite Friday's loss. He insisted that CSK are not just looking to make the progress but also win matches during the knockout stages and that he needs his bowlers to execute plans better if they are to do so.
Notably, CSK are sitting on the second spot with 14 points from 11 games and one more win should be enough for them to reach the playoffs for the ninth successive time.
"Well, of course [we can qualify]. But what is important is start delivering when it comes to execution of the planning part," Dhoni said.
"You don't just want to qualify for the knockout stages, you want to go there and win matches. So it's very important to know what we need to do and depending on different wickets. Because it's not going to be our (favorable) venue all the time. We need to know what length and line to bowl."
CSK will face a stiff test in their next outing Sunday, May 13 as they take on table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are traveling to Pune on the back of five successive wins.