Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that his team's tremendous "experience" has paid off during the five-wicket victory over defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener on Saturday. Ambati Rayudu and Faf Du Plessis set up the win with a 115-run stand for the third wicket, while Piyush Chawla was exceptional with the ball aided by likes of Sam Curran, Deepak Chahar and Lungi Ngidi.
"The experience pays off, everyone talks about it. You get it only after you play a lot of games. 300 ODIs is a dream for anybody to play and when you put an XI on the field, you need a good mix of youngsters and experienced players," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"You need the experienced players to guide the youngsters on and off the field. The young players get 60-70 days with the seniors in the IPL."
Dhoni also spoke about what all the team learnt from the first game itself. "We may practice enough but when you go on the field you need to assess the conditions and give it your best. It took us time for the bowlers to find the right length on this pitch. Plenty of positives but still plenty of areas for us to improve.
"In the second half, there is a bit of movement until the dew sets in. If you don't lose wickets early, you have the upper hand. These are the learnings. Rayudu had a wonderful partnership with Faf. Most of us are retired so luckily no injuries as well."
MI skipper Rohit Sharma was upset that none of his batsmen could carry on the initial momentum that they gained. "None of our batsmen carried on for us, like du Plessis and Rayudu did for CSK. I think we were 85 in the first 10 overs. Credit to the CSK bowlers, they bowled well at the end to pull back things. Something for us to learn," Rohit said in the post-match presentation.
"Still early days. We all want to start really well, it's crucial in this tournament where momentum is important. Few things for us to learn from this game, we did make a few mistakes. Hopefully, we'll rectify those and come out smarter in the next game." Rohit said his team needs to adapt to the conditions better.
"We need to adapt to the pitches, it got better with the dew coming. You need to hit the gaps and focus on that part of the game. The opposition can tie you down, it's all about understanding what we need to do," he said.