IPL 2019: M. S. Dhoni happy with CSK's bowling performance against Kings XI

Chasing 171 for a consolation win, Kings XI Punjab reached the target in 18 overs, but Chennai Super Kings captain says his bowlers couldn't have done more on a Mohali pitch that was good for batting.

M. S. Dhoni sets the field with Chris Gayle on strike.   -  AFP

Chennai Super Kings concluded its IPL 2019 league campaign with a six-wicket defeat against Kings XI Punjab at the PCA Stadium in Mohali on Sunday.

CSK captain M. S. Dhoni said his bowlers, who hemorrhaged runs at the start of Kings XI's run-chase (171), couldn't have done more on a pitch that was good for batting.

“You need to give the credit to them. It was not an easy wicket [for the bowlers]. We did whatever we could, it didn't work a lot. Quite happy with the way we bowled, despite giving a few runs at the start," Dhoni said.

Super Kings secured a top-two finish despite the defeat by stopping Kings XI from chasing down the target in 14.2 overs.

"If you can't win a game, you make sure you get the opposition to get the runs in most number of overs. You have to quickly adapt, learn and reassess," Dhoni concluded.

Dhoni's opposite number, R. Ashwin, bemoaned Kings XI's inability to close out more matches after his team managed just two wins in the final eight fixtures.

“It was not easy for us, but we haven't been outplayed much in many games, except against SRH," Ashwin said. "We just haven't been able to close out the close humdingers. There are a few reasons, we didn’t close out games, particularly in the powerplay and our middle overs. I feel that when teams plan and come back to us, we need to respond properly."

Ashwin said Kings XI needs to build a core group of players, much like CSK, the three-time champion, to give itself a chance of winning the title or progressing from the league stage.

“We haven't qualified but we have to build a core group to keep going for the next few seasons. CSK has a fulcrum of how they go about things, same with Mumbai Indians. We have to look at that in the future. We have to post a score that you can defend and some of the best teams do that very consistently.”

—'I've been holding myself back'—

K. L. Rahul blistering 36-ball 71 set Kings XI on its way to a dominant victory in front of its home fans. And, after the match, Rahul explained the role he has played for the team this season. Rahul finished the season with a strike rate of 135.38 and the pace of his innings has been called into question on multiple occasions, with Kings XI not going on to win despite Rahul's healthy contributions.

“I’ve been holding myself back till the last game, because my role was different, (that of) playing 20 overs and holding up one end," Rahul said. "Tonight, I was playing much more freely. It came out very well today. Looking back at it from a personal and team’s point of view, my strike-rate has dropped, but I have won more games this year. You have to curb your shots at times, and if I did that last year, we could have done better.”