Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming, on the back of his side’s 37-run defeat on Saturday, has conceded that this CSK side was built taking into account the Chepauk factor. Fleming rued spinners’ minimal impact in UAE and admitted that a playoff spot is drifting away from Chennai.
Chennai Super Kings were touted to finish bottom post the 2018 mega auction, due to the rather ‘old’ nature of the team, but they shocked the world by astonishingly winning the title. Despite being defending champions, their chances were once again downplayed prior to IPL 2019 but once again, the MS Dhoni-led side reached the final. However, after two years of defying expectations, age seems to have finally caught up with CSK this season.
The club have lacked the killer instinct and have remarkably lost five of their first seven matches, and that too in scathing fashion. The manner of CSK’s defeats have brought to light once again the ‘age’ factor, which finally seems to be catching up with the side.
Speaking on the back of his side’s 37-run versus Royal Challengers Bangalore, coach Stephen Fleming admitted that this CSK side was picked for seasons 1 and 2 (2018 and 2019) and further claimed that the whole think tank was banking on the Chepauk factor to aid them. The CSK coach further conceded that a play-off spot is now drifting away from the side.
“It’s getting further away with us playing like this. It’s a very good challenge. Without a doubt we’ve had a good run, but there are a couple of factors - it is an ageing team bought for years 1 and 2, the legs are getting a bit more tired, and also the conditions,” Fleming said in the press conference post the Bangalore game.
“When we put this team together in the last auction, it was with the view of winning 5 or 6 games at Chepauk. Spinners here are playing a small role, but not a substantial one.”
CSK’s defeat on Saturday followed the same pattern of every other game they’ve lost this season as chasing a somewhat gettable target, the side fell short due to the lower-order batsmen having too much to do towards the back end. The first 10 overs yielded just 47 runs and thus the likes of Dhoni, Curran and Jadeja were left with a next to impossible job when they walked in to bat.
Fleming asked his top and middle-order batsmen to show more intent and asserted that the management are looking for ‘positive solutions’.
“We are aware that we are not getting good starts up-front with the two overseas players and we are getting into a hole, so we are looking for positive solutions. What I would like is some intensity in the middle-overs, we’ve got plenty of batting depth. We are recovering pretty well, we’re just leaving too much to do at the back end.
“We’ve chased every game and the wickets are getting slower. It’s not easy when you lose wickets, it’s hard to get started, so there is an aspect of that we have to consider but I would love to see more intent.
Barring faltering with the bat, CSK had a blip at the death with the ball, too, as their seamers conceded a mind-boggling 66 runs off the last 4 overs. The CSK head coach admitted that the bowlers got confused with their lines and lengths, due to which they ended up going the distance.
“Our death bowling has been one of our positives in this campaign but under pressure today, we got confused with the long boundaries and the pace of the wicket and trying to find the right technique. We ended up being in-between; we were neither wide or neither straight.”
With just 2 wins in 7 matches, CSK are currently placed sixth on the table, only above the struggling Rajasthan and Punjab.