After a disappointing last season in the Indian Premier League where Chennai Super Kings finished ninth, it is business as usual for MS Dhoni-led side as they finished second in the table with 17 points in 14 league games.
The Super Kings entered their last group game against Delhi Capitals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in a must-win situation. The Yellow Army produced a clinical performance and recorded a 77-run win to seal the second spot in the points table.
They will now face Gujarat Titans in the first Qualifier on Tuesday, May 23, but Head Coach Stephen Fleming believes the team will not have any home advantage given the conditions at Chepauk.
"We are still not too sure about our conditions in Chennai, other years we were pretty sure but it's changed a little bit this year," he said in the post-match press conference.
"Each year is different. In the COVID year, we felt we had a couple of things wrong, but we finished really well. Last year, we felt we would be struggling, but it's just about getting work done a year before, not just giving up."
"Trying to give guys opportunities, finding pieces of the puzzle, to help us bounce back. Tushar Deshpande is a good example of that because he wouldn't have been there in the top three or four people we would be talking about."
"With injury and opportunity, he has developed into a quality player. It goes back to the auction table as well as the kind of squad we build," he further added.
The former Kiwi skipper also heaped praises on Devon Conway for his consistent run in the tournament, where he has amassed 585 runs in 13 innings at an average of 53.18, including six half-centuries.
"Devon Conway has been consistent not only in the IPL but also in all the tournaments, and his consistency can never be questioned. He gets the runs and doesn't always look flamboyant, but his ability to get runs and do the job is high-class and a valued member of this side," he said.
Fleming also shared his views on the game and admitted Chennai were under pressure coming into this crucial clash. "You dream to be ruthless but it was a pressure game for us."
"We could have been in a scenario of losing this game and end up not qualifying. We were realistic about it, and we were not out there to win comprehensively but just wanted to win and give ourselves a chance to get through," he added.
With the inclusion of Deepak Chahar in the playing XI, Chennai have a pretty much solid unit with most bases covered, and Fleming was optimistic about his speedster returning to his best in the coming games.
"Deepak Chahar now got some confidence in his body, he bowled very well today, and he still getting back to how good he can be. The spell today was smart. Even in the last few games, he wasn't at his best but picked three wickets,"
"If you have got that bit of a golden arm and with two-three games to go, it is important that he continues that form," he concluded.