CHENNAI: MS Dhoni described Chennai Super Kings‘ victory on Tuesday as “close to a perfect game as possible”. While a win was imperative for the three-time IPL champions to keep themselves in the hunt for a playoff berth, the manner of victory was also encouraging for the CSK camp.
Defending a total for the first time this season, the Dubai pitch was on the slower side and allowed the CSK bowlers, especially the spinners, to bring their strengths into play.
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With the tournament taking place at only three grounds, the pitches seem to have gotten slower over the last few days. If the trend continues in the coming games, it could be to CSK’s benefit considering they rely on their spinners to do a bulk of the work. CSK’s spinners played only a marginal role in the first half of the tournament, but there were signs against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday that they could become more significant. All it took was for one ball from Ravindra Jadeja to grip and turn in his second over for CSK coach Stephen Fleming to get enthused.
“We were excited when we saw Jadeja turn one. That creates a little bit of uncertainty from the batsman’s point of view. Our score of 167 was in line with the scores we are seeing. The tracks are getting a bit slower and turning. If the tracks continue to behave how we think it will, then the spinners will come into play and our attack will have more teeth. We have had to be defensive in our bowling approach so far. If spin starts playing a part, we are well-equipped,” Fleming said at the post-match press conference on Tuesday.
CSK played three spinners on Tuesday for the first time this season with Piyush Chawla replacing N Jagadeesan. Although their next game is against Delhi Capitals in Sharjah and could pose a challenge to the spinners given the small boundaries on offer, the last game at the venue between RCB and KKR would comfort the CSK set-up. Despite the ground dimensions, after all, spinners from both teams excelled as batsmen found it really difficult to hit through the line.
“In terms of playing the extra spinner, we felt that it was a positive option. If the tracks continue to get slower going forward, presence of another leg-spinner is helpful. We are just trying to find a way to stay in the competition. We are not going to be perfect. We haven’t got the perfect side,” he added.
‘Curran has exceeded our expectations’: CSK’s decision to promote Sam Curran to open had its desired effect as the Englishman scored 31 from 21 balls against SRH to take some advantage of the fielding restrictions. Coach Stephen Fleming said that Curran had exceeded their expectations with his contributions so far. “Curran brings very high all-round value to the team. In terms of his contributions so far, it has exceeded what we wanted. Probably not in his eyes because he is very competitive. He has been desperate to get in and make a difference with the bat. We got a glimpse of what he is capable of. He is a very good addition to our side,” Fleming said.