Chennai Super Kings’ chief coach Stephen Fleming said the team has been left devastated by the IPL authorities’ decision to shift the former champions’ home games to Ranchi from their citadel — the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk.
Chennai’s matches were shifted after the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association failed to get the requisite NOCs to host the matches on May 18 and 22.
“We are very disappointed not to play in Chennai. I say this on behalf of the team, announce our disappointment that we can’t go back. We enjoy amazing support all around India and around the world. But we were looking forward to giving back to the Chepauk (crowd). We were devastated as we were really looking forward to those games,” Fleming said after Saturday night’s match against Mumbai Indians.
“Though Ranchi has been home away from home and we have played there beautifully, there was an element of returning back to the Chennai faithful. We won’t be able to do that this year. We will carry that with us and hopefully put up a couple of good performances at Ranchi and move on. But as I said the team is sad not to be going back to our fan base,” he added.
Fleming described the team’s stupendous four-wicket victory over Mumbai as a “blue collar day” for the hard work it required to breach the home team’s fortress in the Indian Premier League.
“It was a really blue collar day. We had to really work hard with the ball and with the bat. We knew it was round about a par score. We kept the momentum going, did not get bogged down. I prefer both sides’ performances rather than an easy one if we are lucky,” said Fleming after the two-time former champions stormed home in a thrilling finish in the last over bowled by Kieron Pollard.
Needing 11 in the last over to overtake MI’s 157 for 6, Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni took a couple of runs, then hit West Indian Pollard for a six over mid-wicket and a boundary to pull his side past the finish line in a thrilling finale.
Super Kings’ victory also inflicted on the hosts their first defeat at the Wankhede Stadium since the beginning of last season’s IPL.
Fleming said his side was a power-oriented team with the likes of Dwayne Smith, who top-scored with 57 in 51 balls, and Dhoni (22 not out), in it along with smart batsmen like Brendon McCullum and Suresh Raina to blend beautifully with the power game exhibited by the other two.
“I love his (Smith) power. Power is the key for top order batting. The McCullums and Rainas are very efficient. They provide very good foils. If Smith gets on top of the bowler with 3-4 sixes an over, we don’t worry about dot balls. The other players don’t get flustered and do what they know. Power would catch up.
“We are a pretty powerful side. Sometimes it’s hard to be efficient. Today they tried to manoeuvre Harbhajan continued…