Chennai Super Kings are very very unlikely to be in the Play Offs for the first time in all 11 IPL seasons they've played, prompting captain MS Dhoni to express his 'hurt'. CSK's slim chances of qualifying to the last four were thrashed by 10 wickets by a ruthless Mumbai Indians unit.
Speaking in the post-match presentation, Dhoni said the team was hurting and rued that nothing went their way this IPL.
"Well it does hurt. What you need to see is what is going wrong, this year hasn't been our year. In only one or two games this year we have batted and bowled well together. Whether you lose by ten wickets or eight wickets it hardly matters," he said.
"All the players are hurting, but they are trying their best. It doesn't always go your way. Hopefully in the next three games we'll try to put our last stand."
Dhoni said the team lacked luck, which they badly needed after a couple of early losses.
"I felt the second game was all about the bowling, our batting wasn't turning up. Rayudu got injured and the rest of the batsmen weren't turning up and we just kept putting pressure on the batting order. Whenever we did not get off to a good start it kept getting difficult for the middle order," he said.
"In cricket when you are going through a tough phase, you need a bit of luck to go your way. But in this tournament it hasn't really gone our way. We haven't really won the toss, when we are batting second there hasn't been a lot of dew and when we are batting first all of a sudden there is a lot of dew on the field.
"So it hasn't gone our way and those are the things you study. Whenever you aren't doing well there can be a hundred reasons. One of the main things you ask yourself is whether you are playing to your potential. When you put out a playing eleven and judge whether they have done well to justify their stats on paper on the field, I feel this year we have not done that. Cumulatively when three or four of your batsmen aren't doing well it becomes difficult."
Dhoni said it's part and parcel of the game that their 100% Play Off record was not sustained this year.
"I feel it is part and parcel, you can't always think the result will go your way, you think more about the process. Even when you are hurting you put a smile on your face so that the management doesn't look like they are in panic. That is what the youngsters want and I feel the boys have done that. We have kept the dressing room like that and hopefully we can turn it around in the next three games at least for pride."
The CSK captain said they'll play the remaining three games for pride, and also for hints on their strategy for the next year.
"We need to have a clear picture for the next year," he said. "There are ifs and buts in the auction, where the venues will be, and you want to give the boys a chance to perform and show their talent. We have to make the most of the next three games and it is good preparation for the next year. Identify batsmen according to order, who will bowl at the death and hopefully the players will soak up the pressure.
"Captain can't run away, so I'll be playing in all the games."