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10-17-2012, 04:45 PM #1
Dhoni admits Chennai face uphill battle
Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni concedes his team faces an early exit from the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa.
The Indian Premier League side slumped to their second consecutive defeat with a six-wicket loss to Highveld Lions on Tuesday.
Chasing Chennai's 158-6, the Lions - who shocked Mumbai Indians in their opener - showed great maturity in another tricky match to win comfortably.
Dhoni's side now face an improbable task of making the final four as one of the two teams from Group B, with Sydney Sixers topping the table followed by the Lions.
Both teams have eight points from two games and though Mumbai Indians and Yorkshire are also still to open their account, they both have played a game fewer than Super Kings.
"It's difficult for us now to qualify for the semi-finals but nothing comes easy. We have to learn our mistakes and apply ourselves and come up with some big scores," said Dhoni.
The skipper said that the Lions were able to get on a bit of a roll at crucial junctures because of the free hits conceded by Chennai bowlers.
Albie Morkel was smashed for a six in the ninth over while R Ashwin conceded a boundary in the 17th over when the match was still in the balance.
"The timing of the no-balls was crucial. Small things matter. All of a sudden the momentum shifted, they were able to score a lot more freely," Dhoni said.
"We got off to a very good start, we lost too many wickets in the middle, so we were not able to slog the way we could have, but we still got the score we wanted. I think 160 was a good score."
Dhoni's counterpart Alviro Petersen was wary of the Chennai total at the halfway stage and heaped praise on Gulam Bodi, who struck a 46-ball 64 to set up the win.
"Halfway through the game I thought we gave 15 runs too many. The batsmen stayed calm. Bodi played exceptionally well with Neil McKenzie (32 off 34 balls) and the two young men finished it for us," Petersen said.
"It was a case of getting to the last three overs. Guys at the end showed some mettle and steel.
"Generally 10-15 overs is a sort of dead period, you tend to knock it around, but Gulam never allowed the rate to go beyond 10-11 runs an over."