With defending champions Chennai Super Kings still fourth in the points table after a five-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday, Super Kings' coach Stephen Fleming has said that it's the first time his side has been challenged for form in the last two years.
Super Kings, who were IPL champions in 2010 and 2011, have lost five out of ten matches this year. "The nature of which we are playing needs to improve and we need to look at the personnel as well as this is the first time we've been challenged for form," Fleming said. "We have been a very consistent side, but now we have to make the right decisions based on what our captain needs."
Super Kings' batsmen have struggled to find form this year, with their top-scorer Faf du Plessis averaging 37.11 from nine innings. Fleming said that his side must play well as a unit if they want to succeed. "We're just not getting enough runs and defending well enough," Fleming said, "He [MS Dhoni, the captain] needs to be supported in the field. We must reassess which bowlers we need and hope our batsmen score more. Things must improve quickly."
On Monday, Knight Riders outperformed Super Kings with bat and ball as they failed to string together substantial partnerships and missed a number of run-out chances. Fleming said that though his batsmen played well, bowling and fielding was a concern.
"Today we showed a lot more intent on a tough wicket but when we tried to push ahead or clear the boundary we missed out the 15 to 20 runs that we needed. Knight Riders had one good partnership (between Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis) that took the game out of our reach," Fleming said.