Chennai, May 28: A dejected Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming admitted that Kolkata Knight Riders opener Manvinder Bisla changed the course of the final here.
The Super Kings lost to the Kolkata outfit by five wickets despite scoring 190 runs with Bisla (89) and veteran Jacques Kallis (69) doing the bulk of scoring in the Indian Premier League final Sunday.
“Bisla’s knock was outstanding. We targeted Gambhir, but Bisla stood up well with Kallis who has the experience. This partnership gave them the belief.
“When we arrived at the 19th over, there was a big turning point there. Going into last over with 15 runs is a different story. We did not fire our way through.
“It is probably a very fitting finale and it is a great IPL in terms the cricket that has been played. Kolkata did incredibly well under pressure. In hard times, 190 is a good score. We dropping catches also mattered,” said Fleming at a post-match Media conference.
Fleming said it was very disappointing to lose a game after being in front for much of the way, but declined to read too much into skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni not using left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja or off-spinner Suresh Raina to break the Bisla-Kallis partnership.
“It is very hard to analyse where you could have used the bowlers in different situations. We have got bowlers to deliver under pressure and they are experienced players and they have performed for us throughout the tournament.
“I do not know whether it is right or wrong (not having Jadeja or Raina to bowl). (Left-arm spinner Shadab) Jakati has been bowling well in last couple of games. They need to deliver in key games and that is one of the specific targets that we have in the team.
“We were happy that we got a chance to play in the final, but very disappointed not to get across the line. KKR gave a pretty good performance to beat us,” said Fleming.
The coach admitted to his players being a bit “edgy” and under pressure in the final and that the fielding, overall, was also a let down.
“Our start was very good. A couple of turning points were there in the match, but Bisla got his way. Our fielding was not good and it was not as sharp as we expected it to be.
“Perhaps, we were under pressure for the first time. We knew it was going to be a high scoring game and the pitch was very good. We were not really complacent but we were edgy,” Fleming said.
Reviewing the team’s performance this season, Fleming the Super Kings were not at their best in the league phase, but making it to the final was a great achievement.
“The way we played in the league phase, we did not perform like champions. It was disappointing to lose a final, but it was a great achievement.
“I am not saying that we were complacent on winning an IPL, but year after year, we have done incredibly well. We are finding new ways to challenge ourselves to stay motivated for long periods of time.
“We succeeded well from challenges this year. The challenge has been after making one, two in a row and going for the third. We are proud of the way that struck at it. From coaching point of view, it has been the toughest campaign in IPL and it would have been fantastic if we had crossed the line,” the coach summed up.
Fleming pointed out that it was not by chance that the Super Kings won two consecutive IPL titles, but they worked hard for it.
“We did not win two competitions by chance. We practiced hard and we prepared ourselves very hard in this competition. We came into contention and then we finished off to make the final.
“It speaks about the character within our side. Having won the tournament twice and in for the third title is not lucky, but we showed that we are one of the best sides.
“Our challenge next year is to remain the most consistent side and look to better our performances,” said Fleming.