Already through to the main draw, Sunrisers Friday suffered a five wicket defeat to Otago but Dhawan was happy that he could try out a few things.
"We lost the game but we tried a few things," Shikhar Dhawan said after the match.
"That's what we were trying to do: try a few things. In the knockout stages, our batsmen have all had hits, so that's a bonus for us.
"The confidence is still high. This was a match where we wanted to try thing and analyse what went wrong and what went right," he said.
Otago skipper Brendon McCullum said it was a smart move to start with Nathan McCullum after winning the toss and electing to bowl.
"We had a couple of bowlers to rest today so we had to be tactically smarter," says Brendon McCullum.
"So we began with Nathan who bowled well. Very happy with how the boys have performed. We are a bit surprised by the conditions, they suit our style of play."
Man of the Match for his two-wicket burst early in the innings, Nathan McCullum said: "It is nice to contribute and get the team to a good start. It was a good challenge to bowl first up with just two fielders at the outfield. I enjoyed the challenge.
"It is good that we could give the other guys a game ahead of the main tournament. We are playing good cricket. We need to keep doing well in all the three facets -- bowling, batting and fielding to go far in the tournament," said the New Zealander, who dismissed two in-form batsmen Parthiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan.