A disappointed Rising Pune Supergiants head coach Stephen Fleming said they are still struggling to find the right combination after the new outfit slumped to its fourth consecutive defeat in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
After the win over defending champions Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Supergiants suffered four consecutive defeats — the latest being the two wickets loss against Kolkata Knight Riders last night — to languish at the second last spot in the eight-team standings.
And Fleming said it is always difficult to build a new team.
“We just need to move on. As a new team we are trying to develop a culture and some camaraderie, it does take a lot more work. So we are working hard but it’s tough,” the former New Zealand skipper said at the post-match press conference on Sunday.
“We are just trying to find a combination. Because we are new team, we are trying to understand what combinations will work. It’s not ideal but if we win 2 or 3 games in a row we probably will settle down. We are conscious about it and are just working on the combinations that will give us the results we need,” he said.
A disappointed Fleming minced no words in criticising his bowlers for failing to defend 160 on Sunday, which according to him was a “very good score” on the slow-paced Maharashtra Cricket Association ground pitch.
“What we are not doing is winning cricket and that’s all what matters. I thought today’s performance was poor, the performance on the field was very poor. 160 was a very good score on that surface. There was lot of assistance for the slow bowlers but we just didn’t adjust. We didn’t use our spin, we didn’t create enough pressure and kept Kolkata in the game,” he said.
“Our fielding and slow bowling in the middle overs were found wanting. I think 161 should have been easily defended,” Fleming said.
“We just let the pressure off with the ball. On a pitch like that we probably should have shot a team down with the amount of turn on offer and how difficult it was. With 3 spinners and a slow bowler in (Rajat) Bhatia we were suited to do well but we didn’t do it.”
He, however, praised his batting unit for putting up 160 for five on the board.
“I think the batting was very good today. There was some very smart batting. You really don’t know what a good score is until 2-3rd of the innings,” he said.
“(Steven) Smith and (Ajinkya) Rahane gave us the opportunity. We were very happy with 160,” Fleming said lauding Smith (31) and Rahane’s (67) efforts.
Supergiants were dealt a severe blow when Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of the tournament with a calf muscle injury and Fleming said the team will miss the Englishman.
“We didn’t miss Kevin (Pietersen) much in the batting sense (last night) but we will miss his presence in the tournament of course,” the coach said.
Fleming said it’s high time for the Supergiants to return to winning ways to keep themselves afloat in the tournament.
“I was pretty angry with the way things went today. So my morale needs to be boost. But I have been in the IPL long enough to know we have to sleep on it. It is becoming pretty clear we have to get victories. Even in the last 3 games we had good chances of winning,” he said.