Chennai captain MS Dhoni was pleased to have returned to winning ways with their five-wicket victory over Bangalore in the IPL.
Bangalore, shackled by Chennai spinners Shadab Jakati and Muttiah Muralitharan, laboured to 161 for four, Jacques Kallis top-scoring with 52 after Anil Kumble had decided to bat first.
But opener Murali Vijay struck a ferocious 78 and Suresh Raina made an unbeaten 44 as Chennai eased to victory – their first after three straight defeats and only the third in eight matches overall – with an over to spare.
“We had almost lost that winning feeling and this victory has come the hard way,” Dhoni said.
“I thought the spinners, Jakati and Muralitharan, bowled really well in this game and they have been doing a fine job for quite some time now.
“The fast bowling is still a bit of a worry and even in this game we conceded far too many runs in the last two overs.
“Those little things matter especially against a top class side like Bangalore.
“They have a quality attack and we were under pressure when we went out to bat.” Bangalore captain Kumble admitted his batsmen had failed the team.
“I thought we lost our way after the 13th over and we ended 20 runs short,” Kumble said.
“Even so, I thought 160 was a defendable score, but that penultimate over really cost us.
“Perhaps if it had gone into the final over, who knows?
“We probably missed a second specialist spinner on this surface and we had options in Cameron White and Kevin Pietersen, but we really were a few runs short with the bat.
“The important thing in this format is momentum and I thought we lost some of it after the 13th over while batting.
“We probably missed a few tricks in the field too and a couple of early wickets would have changed the outcome.
“Credit should go to Chennai. They were too good for us on Wednesday.”
Kumble, however, believed a semi-final berth was not beyond his team.
“I don’t think two defeats are going to throw us off track. We are only halfway through the tournament and we have another seven matches to go,” Kumble said.
“Another three or four victories should take us through, but this defeat should serve as a wake-up call.
“It’s important that we kick on from now.”