Stephen Fleming defends MS Dhoni’s slow knock against DC

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MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni will lead CSK in remainder of IPL 2022.

Dubai: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming has backed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s lacklustre batting performance against Delhi Capitals (DC) on Monday, saying that the CSK captain ‘wasn’t the only one who struggled’.

CSK were comfortably placed at 48/2 by the end of the powerplay, but slowed down considerably towards the middle overs, that they couldn’t hit a boundary in the next five overs. Ambati Rayudu’s unbeaten knock 55 off 43 deliveries, is the reason CSK managed a competitive total.

While a number of reasons have been highlighted behind the three-time champions’ defeat, one of the primary ones has been captain MS Dhoni’s extraordinarily slow innings on Monday against the Delhi Capitals. Dhoni, who batted at the No. 6 spot for CSK against DC on Monday,  failed to hit a single boundary in his stay of 27 balls, scoring just 18 runs. Which is his slowest innings in the history of IPL.

“Well, he (Dhoni) wasn’t the only one who struggled. It was a difficult day for strokeplay. When 137 (136) is almost enough, I think it was a tough wicket to score big on in terms of the big shots. So both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings. Sometimes you set your sights too high, (want) too many, and probably we were only 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score,” said Fleming at the post-match press conference.

“So, the difficulty at the moment is to assess what the conditions are in all three different grounds and, batting first, getting a score that is par or just above. It was no lack of intent, it was just we had to stabilise after a couple of mistakes and then we were reasonably well-placed for 150. The other thing was their attack bowled very well in the last five overs. They (DC) were very smart, so it was tough going.”

This was CSK’s second consecutive defeat, after they lost to Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets. The win helped DC climbed up into first place in the IPL points table. Both DC and CSK had qualified for the playoffs. Fleming said he would rather have the defeats rather than in the next stage of the tournament.

“I’d rather have two defeats now than in the two semi-finals, if I ever had a wish list. Today was good, today was scrappy and I think there were a lot of mistakes on both sides. Sometimes, when you’ve qualified, I know there are one or two (things) that we were trying hard for… and things do change a little bit,” he signed off.

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