Stephen Fleming: CSK lost the game in the powerplay itself

CSK head coach Stephen Fleming says the team's show against Mumbai Indians in Sharjah sums up its entire campaign this season.

Stephen Fleming attributed CSK’s defeat against Mumbai Indians to a “terrible” Powerplay where it lost too many quick wickets.

CSK was on Friday reduced to 21 for five in the Powerplay and could only post a paltry 114 for nine.

“We were pretty stunned really. It was a terrible Powerplay. To lose wickets so quickly, so frequently, the game was almost over in the Powerplay. Obviously, we had a couple of young guys who had an opportunity which didn’t work out,” Fleming said at the post-match press conference on Friday.

“So the message during the time out was to have some runs on the board to give us half a chance in the game as our bowling was strong due to overseas players.”

CSK picked Imran Tahir for the first time in the tournament and Fleming said Ruturaj Gaikwad opened the batting to accommodate the veteran South African leg-spinner. “The pitches are becoming a little more difficult at times and our opening stands have been a little bit of mix. So the plan was to be positive and the reason why Ruturaj Gaikwad was there because we wanted to introduce Tahir to have some balance,” Fleming said.

“Our spin bowling has been a little bit ineffective so when you have one of the best T20 spinners we were keen to play him but we had a poor batting display and it sums up our tournament. Everything we have tried has been opposite.”

'Exceptional' Curran

Fleming praised young Sam Curran, who has been one of the better performers among his peers in CSK.

“He (Sam) is doing everything right, isn’t he? He has taken every opportunity and his performances show a lot of character. Today’s [performance] was exceptional. He’s been very good for us in what has been a disappointing season. What we’re doing now is trying to get as many positives as we can - Sam is one, and there will be opportunities to the others.

“We will look to finish the season well - by no means are we gonna give up. We want to win our last three games - but on the other hand, it’s important we answer every question about all players as we head into the next auction cycle,” he said.

Pollard: Bowlers executed the plans

Stand-in MI captain Kieron Pollard said he decided to introduce Jasprit Bumrah (2 for 25) early after looking at the exploits of Trent Boult (4 for 18). “It was good to see that the bowlers went out and executed the plans. We wanted bowlers to go out and set the tone early as a bowling unit and we did that,” Pollard said.

“Opening with our two main bowlers, obviously we weren’t thinking of Jasprit with the new ball but after that over from Boult and getting that early wicket, [Ambati] Rayudu, too, has batted well against us in the past, just decided to go for him (Bumrah) and it worked.”

MI moved to the top of the points table with the win, but Pollard said the team wasn’t thinking about its playoff opponents yet.

“Focus area is always to improve as a team; what we need to do to improve as a team so that when we come up against RCB, we know what to do. But we don’t need to think about RCB and Delhi as of yet as before that we face Rajasthan Royals (on Sunday) so as a team we want to take one step at a time,” Pollard said.

MI had suffered a loss against CSK in its IPL opener and Pollard said he asked CSK to take first strike to put it under pressure as it had a poor outing with the bat in its last game against Rajasthan.

“We batted first the first time we played, it was a day game but scores have been a bit lower. I am a big believer that you are always in the game when you are batting second. And I rather prefer to chase 160 than to defend 160,” he said.

“CSK didn’t bat well in their last game too so putting them under pressure and then early wickets actually worked for us.”