Last five overs were phenomenal - Fleming
Stephen Fleming, the Chennai Super Kings coach, has said the last five overs of Super Kings' innings which produced 73 runs, were phenomenal and turned the initiative towards his side which comprehensively beat Mumbai Indians by 38 runs in the eliminator in Bangalore. Super Kings will have to get past Delhi Daredevils in the second qualifier to make the final and defend their title.
"It was crucial we scored more than 160, or Mumbai would have chased it down easily," Fleming said. "The last five overs were phenomenal."
Super Kings got off to a poor start, struggling at 2 for 2 before Michael Hussey and S Badrinath added 94 for the third wicket to give their side a launching pad. Super Kings had made slow progress to 49 for 2 before the first Time Out and Fleming said the period immediately after was the turning point. Hussey hit the first ball after the break for four and the run-rate increased steadily. MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo blazed 73 in just under five overs to set a target of 188, but Fleming gave due credit to the batsmen who set it up.
"They created the platform for the Dhonis and the Bravos to launch after the first Time Out," Fleming said. "It (Hussey-Badrinath stand) might not have seemed that flattering but if we lost more wickets after 2/2 then it would have been a different story."
Super Kings return to Chennai for their next game and Fleming said his side would go in with the advantage because of their spinners.
"We have a team that is better suited to the conditions in Chennai. We have seamers who are adequate but not startling. Today's performance needs to be replicated but it's not easy."
Fleming ruled out making team changes for the next match. "We are a bit conservative with our selection. We don't have a big turnover of players. Unlike in other formats you have to back certain players. I'll be surprised if there were any changes."
Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh said the mid-innings collapse was responsible for his side's heavy defeat. The opener Dwayne Smith made an aggressive 38, but his departure brought Super Kings back into the contest. Mumbai Indians lost four wickets for 41 runs between the seventh and twelfth overs.
"We lost Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith in two overs. In next few overs we also lost Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik," Harbhajan said. "They are core of our batting line-up and losing them in quick succession had put the team under pressure. We didn't want to be five down in 13 overs when we are chasing 180."
Harbhajan defended his decision to bowl first because he backed his batsmen to chase down any score on a good batting conditions.
"I don't think I would have done anything different after winning the toss. Even if given a chance tomorrow I'd still like to chase here because it has small boundaries and it's not difficult to get ten runs in an over on a good batting track."