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24 Oct 2020 | 07:27 AM
The game was almost over in the powerplay, admits Fleming
The former New Zealand skipper praised young Sam Curran, who has been one of the better performers for CSK this season

Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming has attributed his team's 10-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians to a "terrible" powerplay where they lost too many quick wickets. CSK were on Friday reduced to 21 for five in the powerplay and could only post a paltry 114 for nine, thanks to a 47-ball 52 by Sam Curran. MI returned to overhaul the target, scoring 116 for no loss in 12.2 overs.

"We were pretty stunned really. It was a terrible powerplay. To lose wickets so quickly, so frequently, the game was almost over in the powerplay. Obviously, we had a couple of young guys who had an opportunity which didn't work out," Fleming said at the post-match press conference on Friday.

"... So the message during the time out was to have some runs on the board to give us half a chance in the game as our bowling was strong due to overseas players."

CSK picked Imran Tahir for the first time in the tournament and Fleming said Ruturaj Gaikwad opened the batting to accommodate the veteran South African leg-spinner. "The pitches are becoming a little more difficult at times and our opening stands have been a little bit of mix. So the plan was to be positive and the reason why Ruturaj Gaikwad was there because we wanted to introduce Tahir to have some balance," Fleming said.

"Our spin bowling has been a little bit ineffective so when you have one of the best T20 spinners we were keen to play him but we had a poor batting display and it sums up our tournament. Everything we have tried has been opposite."

The former New Zealand skipper praised young Sam Curran, who has been one of the better performers in an otherwise dismal season for the team. "He (Sam) is doing everything right, isn't he. He has taken every opportunity and his performances show a lot of character. Today's (performance) was exceptional. He's been very good for us in what has been a disappointing season. What we're doing now is trying to get as many positives as we can - Sam is one, and there will be opportunities to the others.

"We will look to finish the season well - by no means are we gonna give up 3 games, we want to win our last 3 games - but on the other hand, it's important we answer every question about all players as we head into the next auction cycle," he said.

Stand-in MI captain Kieron Pollard said he decided to introduce Jasprit Bumrah (2/25) early after looking at the exploits of Trent Boult (4/18). "It was good to see that the bowlers went out and executed the plans. We wanted bowlers to go out and set the tone early as a bowling unit and we did that," the West Indian all-rounder said.

"Opening with our two main bowlers, obviously we weren't thinking of Jasprit with the new ball but after that over from Boult and getting that early wicket, (Ambati) Rayudu too has batted well against us in the past, just decided to go for him (Bumrah) and it worked."

The four-time champions moved to the top of the points table with the win, but Pollard said they were not thinking about their play-off opponents and instead focussing on their next game against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

"Focus area is always to improve as a team; what we need to do to improve as a team so that when we come up against RCB, we know what to do. But we don't need to think about RCB and Delhi as of yet as before that we face Rajasthan Royals so as a team we want to take one step at a time," Pollard said.

MI had suffered a loss against CSK in their IPL opener and Pollard said he asked CSK to take first strike to put them under pressure as they had a poor outing with the bat in their last game against Rajasthan. "We batted first the first time we played, it was a day game but scores have been a bit lower. I am a big believer that you are always in the game when you are batting second. And I rather prefer to chase 160 than to defend 160," he said.

"CSK didn't bat well in their last game too so putting them under pressure and then early wickets actually worked for us."

Stephen Paul FlemingIndian Premier League, 2020Chennai Super KingsIPL 2020
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