Chennai Super Kings’ coach Stephen Fleming is happy that pivotal role played by veteran trio of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo have shut the sceptics, who termed the team as Dad’s Army.
Dhoni and Watson are months shy from being 37 while Bravo is in his 35th year. However all three have made major contribution CSK’s six wins out of eight.
Dhoni has three half centuries while Watson has a century and a half-ton. Bravo has played a blinder at the start and been mostly economical with the ball.
“Age isn’t really a barrier. I still think the big guys are still have a lot to give. The calmness around the group plays a big part. Yes, we have some youngsters around but under pressure experience counts. There’s not many games where you don’t have pressure,” Fleming told reporters on the eve of their return leg fixture against Kolkata Knight Riders here.
CSK have put up 200-plus totals four times this season and Fleming said it would have been a concern if they were not getting one more than what their opponents were getting.
“That’s the silver lining. It’s keeping us on the edge and making us uncomfortable about each game which is a good thing from a coach’s point of view. Most times we have put up fight that matched them. If you lose three four games you are down in the bottom, we know that.”
The biggest gain for CSK has been Ambati Rayudu who has done well both as an opener and also at No 4 as he leads the run charts with 370 runs from eight matches.
“It just shows how flexible and how calm he is at the crease. He is having a fantastic season. He has been massive for us,” he said.
Young South African pacer Lungi Ngidi made his presence felt in his debut as he returned with a tidy 1/26.
Fleming said he’s looking forward to relish the conditions on the seaming Eden Gardens wicket.
“We have been excited about him for a while. He has a massive presence, conditions like the new Kolkata pitch, it would be exciting to see him have a go (at KKR).”
Wary of KKR’s spin attack, Fleming said: “There is not much time to relax as a bowling unit. We just got to combat the spinners. The spinners are the key weapon for KKR, there is no secret around that. (So we have to) find a way through that. At some point, we have to take a risk so just trying find a way to do that (is the key).”
Robin Uthappa is yet to score a half-century in eight matches and Fleming said they’re aware of that.
“It makes me worried as it means he is due for a big knock. If we can get him early, it’s good for us as he is an aggressive player. I have seen a lot of him and he has played well against us. He is one we would like to get early.”
KKR find themselves at number four after eight matches with four wins and their target is to win at least three four more to secure a play-off berth, young pacer Shivam Mavi said.
“We have been playing some good cricket. We have six matches to go. Our target would be to win the remaining four-five matches from here on,” the Under-19 World Cup winning pacer said.
Mavi said CSK are undoubtedly more experienced but they are focusing on their opponents’ weakness and will look to exploit them.
“Yes we are a bit short on experience but if we focus on their weakness, we will win,” he said.