Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming believes that Suresh Raina’s performances will improve as the tournament progresses as the latter’s batting form has been a concern since his innings of 54 runs against Delhi Capitals. Raina has crossed the 20-run mark only once in nine innings since.
Chennai has made quiet progress since they were the first team to be eliminated from the IPL 2020 to become the first team to seal the playoffs spot on Thursday after their comprehensive win against bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad. Even after having a magnificent season with nine wins in just 11 matches, Suresh Raina’s batting form has become a concern since he has not crossed the 20-run mark since his 54 runs off 36 balls in the first half of the tournament back in India. Fleming, however, believes that he will do good in the upcoming games.
"We've got a pretty clear role for him. He has got an optimal time that we want him to bat, and we're afforded the luxury of having a player that can come in and be aggressive. So it's just getting the timing right with that and managing the batters around him.
"We value his experience and we think he's got a part to play through the middle, which is an area that we've identified we can make a strength. Suresh is an experienced player, who has earned a bit of leeway. I expect as the tournament goes on, his performances will improve," Fleming believes.
Even after winning four games on the trot since the re-start, Chennai is still not assured of the top-2 finish which will give them two chances to reach the final, given they have a bad day in the office in the Qualifiers One. Fleming hinted that while they may look to manage the workloads of certain players in the next couple of games, there won't be too many changes in the side.
"I'm not big on momentum, momentum can go just as quick as you have it. So we're not really talking about that. But what we probably have been afforded is the opportunity to just manage workloads a bit better. We've got a day and then we travel to Abu Dhabi, and then another day, another game.
"So we'll certainly talk about how we can manage our players, making sure that we manage the team that played today and also the opportunities for guys who are on the fringe. So we've afforded that luxury now, but we won't be too experimental," the former New Zealand skipper said.
Chennai will play next against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, October 2 in Abu Dhabi.