Fleming defends Dhoni’s poor show, says ‘he wasn’t the only one’ to fail

The CSK coach said two back-to-back losses doesn’t mean much as the team just needs to get back with intensity

Stephen Fleming (left) said, "It was a difficult day for stroke play. It was a tough wicket to score big on, in terms of the big shots. Both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings."

Chennai Super Kings’ loss to Delhi Capitals, the southern team’s second consecutive defeat, means Dhoni’s men finish second on the points table before the playoffs that start October 10. Rishabh Pant’s Delhi Capitals is now sitting pretty on the top.

Dhoni’s poor form with the bat was the talking point of the match again. The Chennai captain struggled throughout the game, scoring 18 off 27 balls with a poor strike rate of 66.66. CSK could only manage 136 on board, which wasn’t a challenge for Delhi, a team in top gear this IPL.

CSK coach Stephen Fleming, however, wasn’t too worried about Dhoni’s form. Speaking at the post-match press conference, Fleming said, “Sometimes you set your sights too high, too many. Probably we were 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score. That’s the difficulty at the moment, trying to assess what the conditions are in all three different grounds. There was no lack of intent, we just had to stabilise after a couple of mistakes.”

Also read: Does Dhoni face ‘conflict of interest’ in role as Indian team mentor?

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“He (Dhoni) wasn’t the only one. It was a difficult day for stroke play. It was a tough wicket to score big on, in terms of the big shots. Both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings,” said Fleming, adding that Delhi’s attacking bowling did them in. “The last five overs were very smart. So, it was tough going.”

Fleming said two back-to-back losses doesn’t mean much as the team just needs to get back with intensity with crunch time approaching. “I would rather have two defeats now than two semi-finals. Today was a bit scrappy. There was a lot of mistakes from both sides. Sometimes, when you have qualified things do change a little bit. We have worked very hard to keep up the intensity. We are on the back of three games in five days with the travel. There were probably clumsy mistakes from us, which was the most disappointing aspect,” he said.

Following the loss to Delhi, CSK has now slipped to second position with 18 points on board. They will play Punjab Kings on Thursday in their last league stage game in Dubai. Delhis Capitals will face Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same venue.

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