The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) suffered a comprehensive 6-wicket loss in the first Qualifier at the hands of the Mumbai Indians (MI) in Chennai on Tuesday (May 7). The MI spin bowling trio of Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav and Krunal Pandya got their team off to a sensational start by picking up some crucial wickets early on in the first innings.
The duo comprising of MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu did get in a vital partnership, but in the end, CSK only managed to post a par first innings total. While in the second innings, Suryakumar Yadav played a phenomenal inning under pressure to steer Mumbai towards an emphatic victory. With this drubbing, CSK will now have to win the Qualifier 2 in order to book a Grand Finale meeting with Mumbai Indians.
After the loss, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming opened up on the areas where his team lacked in the match. Fleming revealed that they fell too behind in the powerplay overs itself which hurt their chances very badly. After winning the toss and opting to bat first on a massive turning Chepauk track, the home team got off to a horrendous start as they lost three key wickets in the form of Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina and Shane Watson within the first six overs of the powerplay that too with just 33 runs on the board.
"Yeah it [pacing the innings] is tough. There's the problem we're finding - we're so far behind in the powerplays. We're doing things right from overs 6 to 20, the run rate today I think was 7 and [then] 10 [in the last six overs]. We're getting the right runs there, [but] we are just finding ourselves behind in the powerplays,” quoted Stephen Fleming during the post-match press conference.
Fleming stresses on the importance of balance
Fleming mentioned that due to tricky conditions in Chepauk, they couldn’t take the risk of going all guns blazing in the middle-overs stage as in that case, they could have been bundled out for a paltry total. Towards the end, CSK skipper MS Dhoni and Rayudu steadied the innings with a few sensational shots. Dhoni clobbered the experienced Lasith Malinga for a couple of brilliant sixes over the long-on region.
But then Jasprit Bumrah applied the brakes on CSK’s explosive progress by bowling an excellent final over giving away just nine runs which restricted the opposition to a modest total of 131 runs.
"You run the risk if we over-attacked in the middle in those conditions, you can find yourself bowled out for 100. So you've got to have an element of safety. By the time you get that it's around about 14 overs, from there we were able to go at 10 an over [CSK scored at 8-an-over in the last six overs] which got us through to a competitive score,” Fleming added.
"But we need to have more balance in the first six - around 40 would be nice. That may get you to a score of 150-160 which can be a match-winning score. We're just falling behind at different stages but it's the first six that's holding us back when we lose wickets. Maybe in case we just throw the shackles off and have a crack in the next game and see if we can just get ourselves into form and confidence," the CSK head coach inferred.