Chennai Super Kings' pathetic run last season was the result of a longer quarantine, change in venue and lack of competitive cricket in build-up but this year the players have taken more responsibility while performing their roles, skipper MS Dhoni said on Wednesday.
CSK regained the top spot with a convincing seven-wicket win over SunRisers Hyderabad, making short work of a challenging 172-run target. CSK ended at the bottom in the UAE edition but this season, they are on a roll, having won five of the six matches played.
Asked about team's impressive performance right from the beginning, Dhoni listed out a number of reasons.
"Whenever you start the tournament, you may or may not face issues in playing XI. The earlier you settle the better. Another factor was for 5-6 months, we were out of cricket. Nothing was allowed. That also makes it difficult. Change of quarantine was slightly longer. Lot of factors," said Dhoni.
"Overall, if I have to sum it up, the players have taken more responsibility this year."
Dhoni also emphasised on keeping the dressing room a happy place and made a special mention for players who have not yet got a game.
"You will be facing adverse things but ultimately it boils down to how each individual rises to the occasion and gives the extra 10 percent for the team. Last 8-10 years, we've not changed lot of players so they know our approach," he said.
"Also, we appreciate the players not playing a lot. Only way you can put it forward is having those nice interactions. Just try to have the frame of mind where if you get the opportunity you'll be ready. "Keeping the dressing room atmosphere healthy is important. It's not an easy thing. When you're at the top level, you want to play. Have to give extra credit to the players who've not played so far," he explained.
SRH skipper David Warner said he would take "full responsibility for the way I batted". "I batted slow and hit the fielders. The way Manish batted was exceptional. Kane and Kedar got us to a respectable total, but at the end of the day, I take full responsibility," said Warner who took 55 balls for his 57-run knock . "Probably 15 good shots to fielders and they are the ones that make or break the innings. At the end of the day, I took too many balls," he said feeling sorry for himself and the team.
Warner credited CSK openers -- Ruturaj Gaikwad (75) and Faf du Plessis (56) for making it a one-sided contest.
"We fought well to the end, but the two [CSK] openers batted well. I'm not too sure. Felt like you could squeeze a bit after those wickets but they were always ahead in the game," he said.
Asked about Kane Williamson's batting order, the Australian said, "He was going to bat 4 and at the end of the day, we soaked up too many balls." "At the end of the day, he bats at 4 and that's his job. I think we have a day game here as well. 170 is par during the night, but we need to be positive. We're a bunch of fighters. The guys will be hurt by this but we will be up and about."
With inputs from PTI