Hyderabad: Chennai Super Kings, who recorded a thumping 10-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab in their previous match to return to winning ways, failed to get the momentum going as they slumped to yet another defeat, this time to Kolkata Knight Riders by 10 runs on Wednesday.
However, for the better part of it, they were in control of the chase with 98//1 in 12 overs. But they faltered in the later stages. Stephen Fleming, CSK coach, blamed it on a big innings from a batsman that could have anchored the chase. “If we could have got one of those players to 75-plus and continued that partnership for another maybe four or five overs, the game might have been a lot different. Kolkata hung in there long enough to put pressure on us and we just couldn’t accelerate. We feel disappointed that we let it slip,” said Fleming after the match.
Fleming, however, felt that they have a balanced side that can deliver. “But the performances like today, with the experience we have got, we should have put it away. We have got a lot of batsmen anyway so the balance is very good with the six bowlers. I don’t think an extra batsman is going to help”
On promoting Kedar Jadhav, he said, “At the time, we thought that Kedar could play the spinner well and dominate, while Jadeja was there to come and finish. But in the end there was too much work to do and we fell short.”
Leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who played his first match, was impressive with 2/25. Speaking about him, he said, “He’s been waiting for a while for an opportunity. In the first over he was a bit unlucky but the next three overs he really worked hard and he got us back into the game. I think he can get some confidence from this. With the pitches drying out, we can use him in combination with Piyush and Jaddu. We might be able to operate with more spinners which we are used to,” Fleming said.
Meanwhile, KKR bowling coach Kyle Mills lauded Rahul Tripathi who scored match-winning 81 runs. “He was exceptional in the lead up to the tournament. He is reaping the rewards now. He got an opportunity at the top and it is great to see him perform well.”
He also said that holding Sunil Narine for the back end of the innings helped them make things difficult for CSK. “It is very comforting to see him bowl well in the later stages. Pat Cummins too was very good and he was in good rhythm and wanted to give him as many overs as possible with the new ball so that he can take wickets. He bowled beautifully,” he added.