Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL final, Kolkata May 27, 2013

'Happy with where Dhoni batted' - Fleming

ESPNcricinfo staff

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming has said he was "perfectly happy" with where MS Dhoni batted in the IPL final against Mumbai Indians and stated that the captain batted at No. 7 because he was there to win the game for the team.

Chasing 149 at the Eden Gardens, Super Kings were reeling at 3 for 3 within the first 10 balls, as they lost Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina and S Badrinath. But captain Dhoni came out to the middle only in the seventh over when they had lost two more wickets, of Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, with the score on 36, with Mumbai in control of the game.

"He has a role to play," Fleming said. "He was left not out at the end after recovering a pretty poor innings but the strength of the side is that we have key players that come in at key times and if you've watched most of the season you would have seen that."

Despite being unbeaten, Dhoni ran out of partners as wickets kept falling and the asking rate kept rising. His 45-ball 63, including five sixes, wasn't enough as Super Kings fell short by 23 runs.

"He is there to win the game for us," Fleming said. "We have other players that should have put us in a position to win. They didn't do that so he had to recover the situation. And hence he went in when he did. But I'm perfectly happy with where he batted."

Super Kings won 11 out of 16 league matches this season and won more matches than any other team away from home. But their franchise was affected by off-field issues after their top official, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested by Mumbai Police.

"We actually had a pretty good IPL," Fleming said. "It was…trouble-free up to the last week, [but] we as a team played very well. We're usually inconsistent but we were probably the most consistent we've ever been and even in that semi-final we played well and deserved to be at the top.

"I guess as a coach it's very satisfying that we were able to maintain an element of consistency in a long and topsy-turvy tournament. But we just got through a lot in the last week and we didn't respond that well and we would have loved to have responded well on the field but we were outplayed so hats off to Mumbai."

Super Kings played their fourth consecutive IPL final, and their fifth overall, but failed to get their hands on the trophy, like last year. Admitting to a lacklustre display in this year's final, Fleming was keen to set the record straight next time.

"Last year we lost when we played well, this year we lost playing poorly, well the batting side of it was poor. We're still proud of making five out of six finals but we'd like to have won four out of five or three out of five, for sure. The fact that we won two is great but this certainly hurts and the goal now is to get into this situation again and try and rectify it."

Fleming was lavish in his praise for Mumbai's bowling which routed Chennai to 39 for 6 in the eighth over. "I thought [Lasith] Malinga bowled an outstanding spell," he said. "He took the new ball for them, which he hasn't done for a while and they looked desperate. It was almost like they knew they were short of runs, that it was only a par score.

"We just had to get through that first spell and it was something in the short break that we talked about and look with Mike Hussey, he got probably one of the best balls of the IPL and that certainly gives any side a lift and he has the same effect on us."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sadhasivam on May 30, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    Dhoni should have come after Badri's fall. Bravo hasn't done great when he was promoted in the League match with MI. Considering Hussey, Raina and Dhoni played more time in the league matches (than the other players) Dhoni should have been batted up the order after the fall of 3 wickets and should have stabilized the innings. Even 10 or 20 more runs without any wicket in the first 10 over would have made the difference. Bravo, Morkel, Jaddu and Ashwin could have scored in the final overs to chase the score.

  • David on May 29, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    @ Baseball-Sucks. You offer many words of criticism, but few words of wisdom. How were Dhoni & Fleming to know that Hussey, Rains & Badrinath would not last the 10 balls? Are they supposed to be psychic? Was Dhoni even padded up? Vijay - the steady opener - was still batting when Dhoni went in. Were Dhoni & Fleming to know that Vijay would depart as soon as Dhoni walked in?

    There are many good reasons why Fleming is the coach of the most consistently successful IPL franchise, and you and I only comment on the articles. Fleming does not have to justify his job - he has done enough to keep it, regardless where Dhoni batted.

    You say Fleming would say anything to keep his job, but it appears you will say anything to have a critical comment published on cricinfo.

  • Javed on May 28, 2013, 2:46 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks i agree with u but not the point of keeping his job. Yes dhoni made a mistake but he was being a good captain and putting responsibility in the hands of others by sticking to the plan. So it might have cost them the match but are u going to contradict dhoni (who is kicking himself) rather stand by him, cause had bravo or raina won the game this post would have no relevance and every1 would be cheering about the great tactic.

  • Jay on May 27, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    Actually, I was surprised myself when MSD didn't walk in after 3 quick wickets. Wasn't Dhoni the one that smashed Sri Lanka in the world cup final 3 years ago ? I mean.. he's the man for crisis situations right ?! OR.. was I imagining stuff. Anyway, it's done and dusted. Clearly, the CSK boys lost it totally. They bowled okay but I thought they gave away 15-20 extra runs the last few overs. The Gurunath Meiyappan allegations followed by the Srinivasan controversy had reeled in their minds throughout the day. It was evident in the way they batted - madness.

  • Sarah on May 27, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    Fleming would say anything in order to keep his job. LOL Everybody knows what exactly happened. Now Mr. Fleming tries so hard to say it otherwise. LOL

  • SRIRAM on May 27, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    it is kind of OK, when Dhoni walked in he still had a opener Vijay to support him. They could have easily taken the game from there. Ravi Shastry was giving tips like how they should go around the chase. It is purely pressure that pulled them down.

  • Shantanu on May 27, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Though people would say that the CSK lost the match as Dhoni batted at 7 just as Mumbai Indians were supposed to have lost the game in 2010 to CSK as Pollard batted at 8 and got 27 of 10 balls, I would like to believe this strategy wasnt all too bad. Dhoni did come to bat in 7th over and had even Morkel and Morris stayed with him the result would have been different. In T20 cricket you must have a surprise element by having a new player or by not playing to a pattern. CSK lost the match as players were feeling pressure of not just final but the pressure of the way off the field issues came up in media.

  • Abhishek on May 27, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    Dhoni Should give him self a BREAK by trying Hanuman Act all the time by coming at 7. we understand that he bat there for purpose but it works when opening batsman has seen New BALL and there are 4-5 wickets in hands so he can come and take risk. IF it was 3/3. he should have changed his role, he allowed situtaion and not doing others job, HE COULD HAVE COME DOWN after RAINA and HOLD the FORT, till the time he came it was 39/6.

    it was frustrating to see SUCH a non exciting FINAL and so Poor plan, show, temprament by CSK. Esp when they have been finals in 5th time, It was mumbai's turn to get nervous and do mistakes, which they did as well in batting . But Hussey took malinga understimated and seems , had no plan to counter him by blocking. He got out by taking a single by not using a feets. Raina was surprised by sudden blow on body but rather then playing so dancingly, he cud have ducked or Pulled. he did too poor thing and LEt dhoni feel down, when he was needed Most.

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    He should have come after raina, he wS trying to be hero but couldnt

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    He should have been at number 3 when CSK needed him the most.

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