Coach says he is proud of how long they were able to stay in the game in conditions that actively favoured the chasing team
“If you looked earlier on, spinning options were taken out of play,” Fleming said at the post-match press conference. “Because of the wetness, they played well. So, it was very hard for one: to grip the ball for a spinner and two: to be effective. Early on, we were one over short, but they played well.
“We always knew we had to pick an over somewhere. We were hoping to be able to create enough of a run rate towards the end that we could squeeze someone in. Whether that was another spinner or a medium pacer, the decision was made in the middle to use Dube and they countered it well. We always knew that one over was going to be pivotal. I think they did as well.”
“It’s pretty hard fielding second at the moment.”
Stephen Fleming, CSK coach
Much of CSK’s tactics over the years, especially at home, where they haven’t played since 2018, have revolved around spinners applying the choke in the middle. But injuries to key players have forced them to look for a plan B.
“I think we’ve got some young guys in there,” Fleming said. “Mukesh was playing for the first time, Deshpande has played before. I thought it was really tough. You can’t appreciate how wet that ball is, and the outfield is. It’s difficult to get any aggressive play. I think we were bowling defensively from about 10 overs onwards. I thought they hung in really well and started really well in tough conditions.”
With the bat, it was another innings very unlike the Super Kings. They used to be the consolidate-early-build base-accelerate team but have now got enough resources to start hitting out from ball one. For all their batting prowess though, Fleming only knew 210 was just “about par in conditions that at the moment very much favour the team batting second”.
“We did well to get to 210, but we were always realistic that it was going to get harder as the night went on. We worked very hard to stay in the game. Defensively, I thought we were great. After 10 overs, we knuckled down and were fantastic to stay in the game. It’s pretty hard fielding second at the moment.
“We knew we had to be really accurate. At no stage did we feel comfortable. And that showed in our fielding as well, the conditions were really wet. The guys hung in there defensively very well, proud of the effort.”
Would he have held back one over of Dwayne Bravo at the end, while bowling Dube or one of the spinners for another over in the middle?
“It’s hypothetical,” Fleming thundered. “You go back and do 20-30 of these scenarios. After the spinners were ineffective, we knew we had a hole. We did very well to push it as far as we could. I’m not one to dissect the game like that. I’ll back the decision-makers in the middle, who did the best job they could.”
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo