Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said his team was always playing the catching up game after Mumbai Indians duo of Rohit Sharma and Lendl Simmons set the early momentum and helped the team score a 200-plus total in the IPL final.
Mumbai Indians posted an imposing 202 for five as Rohit (50) and Simmons (68) put on a 119-run stand off just from 67 balls. In reply, CSK could reach 161 for eight in their allotted 20 overs to go down by 41 runs.
“Rohit Sharma and Lendl Simmons were in great form and they just quickly grabbed the momentum. We could not stop them. The game they played from second over onwards was almost faultless. We just stuttered,” Fleming said at the post match news conference on Sunday.
“They bowled smartly and we were playing a catch-up game. I think it’s pressure more than anything while chasing a big total. When you are chasing a big total and you’re 33 in the first six overs, credit to their opening bowlers they just shut us down. Any hopes of chasing it down was quashed pretty quickly,” he added.
Put in to bat, Mumbai Indians were 1 for one in the first over after Parthiv Patel had brilliantly run out by a diving Faf du Plessis, but things changed in the very next over with Sharma and Simmons setting the tone for an imposing total.
“They played well, didn’t they? I thought they were excellent. We started beautifully and then we got a little bit loose,” said the former Kiwi skipper.
Asked if the decision of CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to bowl first was a defensive one, Fleming said it was a collective decision.
“Probably in hindsight (we would have liked to bat first) but because it’s possible the way they played. Kolkata is renowned for chasing, team batting second have done well here and we took a leaf out of their book.
“We wanted to bowl first, it’s new pitch, there was a bit of talk about the grass on it. That was the best option we felt. It was a team decision. There is no science in it but it doesn’t always lose you the game, that too in T20. They got a great total on the board, bowled aggressive and we did not bat as we would have liked to,” admitted the coach.
Fleming pointed out that six final appearances from the eight seasons speak of CSK’s consistency.
“We have won the Champions League the last time. It’s not mental, it’s on the day. We have come across some great individual performances. We’re very realistic, the team has got you into this stage and then it’s all about individual performances on the day.
Fleming felt that the team missed Brendon McCullum.
“We also lost McCullum while they’re riding high. Just felt that we never got going. We had one dominant batting performance when McCullum got a hundred. It was a very difficult season, we had to make our way through and I think it’s a good achievement to be table toppers. Obviously we’re looking further ahead.”
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