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Stephen Fleming defends MS Dhoni after sluggish knock against DC

Dhoni crawled to a scratchy 18 off 27 balls without hitting a single boundary.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Photo Credit BCCI/Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had a rare off-day on Monday, October 4th, against Delhi Capitals (DC) and suffered a three-wicket defeat to hand over the top position to the Rishabh Pant-led side. It was a struggle for the batters as they could only manage 136 – 5 in their 20 overs.

Among all, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni struggled the most. The veteran crawled to a scratchy 18 off 27 balls without hitting a single boundary. Dhoni is not the same player he used to be and there have been calls to look beyond him in the IPL 2022.

However, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming defended Dhoni’s sluggish knock and said it was a difficult wicket where most batters found it hard to get going.

“He wasn’t the only one. It was a difficult day for strokeplay. It was a tough wicket to score big on, in terms of the big shots. Both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings.”

“Sometimes you set your sights too high, too many. Probably we were 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score. That’s the difficulty at the moment, trying to assess what the conditions are in all three different grounds. There was no lack of intent, we just had to stabilise after a couple of mistakes,” he added.

“The other thing was their attack bowled very well. The last last five overs were very smart. So, it was tough going.”

This was CSK’s second consecutive loss, having previously lost to Rajasthan Royals. Though Fleming was not concerned about the losses, he said the team needs to get back their intensity and rhythm before the playoffs. CSK’s final league game will be against Punjab Kings on Thursday.

“I would rather have two defeats now than two semi-finals. Today was a bit scrappy. There was a lot of mistakes from both sides. Sometimes, when you have qualified things do change a little bit. We have worked very hard to keep up the intensity. We are on the back of three games in five days with the travel. There were probably clumsy mistakes from us, which was the most disappointing aspect.”

“But in terms of the competition, one of the key things is just rebounding. Second on the table, chance to get a top two place is a positive position but we need to get our intensity back and the rhythm we had before these two games,” said the New Zealander.

Talking about the match, CSK bowlers kept the team in the hunt but a late blitz by Shimron Hetmyer (28 off 18) helped DC cross the line. Earlier, Ambati Rayudu’s 55 off 43 helped CSK post a respectable total.

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