Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the third-wicket partnership between Suresh Raina and S Badrinath provided him with the "perfect platform" to launch the final assault in their Champions League T20 match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, here today.
"We got off to a good start and it was important to build on that. A total of 180+ was easily chased here so considering that the perfect platform we got from Badrinath and Raina, I looked to hit hard and it worked," said Dhoni at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Raina smashed a quickfire 57-ball 84 while Dhoni produced a belligerent unbeaten knock of 63 as Chennai Super Kings pulled off a narrow 12-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a Group 'B' match. Chasing a daunting 203-run target, Sunrisers came close to scoring an unlikely win before settling at 190 for seven.
Raina and Badrinath added 70 runs for the third-wicket partnership in just 46 balls. Dhoni praised his fast bowlers for outwitting opposition batsmen with subtle variations and perfection.
"The wicket was good as the game progressed. There was more dew on the field later on and the ball was coming on nicely. It was difficult for the fast bowlers to execute and it worked well for us who used variations. I think the bowlers did a good job but I feel there were situations where we could have closed the overs well, say after giving a boundary in the first few balls of the over," he said.
Dhoni expressed satisfaction with the wicket and said, "The credit goes to the pitch. As u see these days, boundaries are not very big in T20s so it was a good wicket."
Sunrisers skipper Shikhar Dhawan said losing three wickets in middle of the innings changed the complexion of their run-chase.
"The way Parthiv and I were batting, we gave a good start but we lost three wickets quickly which changed the match," he said.
Dhawan whole-heartedly praised CSK Skipper Dhoni for his whirrlwind knock and said nothing seemed to work when he was batting.
"We thought 170-180 was a par score but Dhoni bhai played an amazing knock. Yorkers didn't work and you needed to bowl variation here. He played a special knock."
Dhawan said he is enjoying the current phase of his batting and wants to win more matches for his side.
"I'm enjoying my batting and I've been in good form so I'm enjoying it. It was a good challenge under pressure but I want to win more games. We've got a very strong side, all the players are good fighters and we can trouble any team."
Man-of-the-match Suresh Raina attributed his batting success to India coach Duncan Fletcher and said, "I've worked very hard with Duncan in the last six months and he's been telling me to play with a clear mind. The tour of South Africa worked very well for me. I hope to continue to perform like this."
Raina said he enjoys batting at number three.
"It's always good to bat at No.3, then you have 18-19 overs to play." He credited Dhoni and fast bowler Jason Holder for the 12-run win and said the team would look to continue the winning momentum.
"Dhoni batted very well and Jason bowled in the right areas. Jason has been working very hard, there's a lot of cricket coming up so we'll look to win more matches."