Hyderabad, May 13: The dismissal of captain MS Dhoni was the turning point in the IPL 2019 final between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians which the latter won by a run to bag their fourth IPL title here on Sunday (May 12), said Chennai coach Stephen Fleming. Excerpts from the post-match press conference.
On the Dhoni dismissal: It was a big moment and took a long time to give the decision. It is always a big moment when MS goes. He was really consistent this year. It's also the calmness with which he operates that's different from the other players. It does two things. So his dismissal does two things. Our job stops down a bit and it lifts the opposition. So yes it was a big moment. 150 in a final, it's never a small total, we were happy to restrict them to that. It was there for the taking. We weren't just good enough to take that.
On the game changing moments: I think they were few, which were fitting for a final. They got off to a good start but we came back very well. Our bowling, like it has been this season, was very tough to handle and we thought we restricted them to what we thought was a very good score. We were confident at the half-way stage. But to be honest, batting has been our weak part of our game, there is still a lot of work to do. It was an aggressive start but then we lost our way. It took a pretty good performance from Shane Watson to keep us in the game. Look this is what you want from a final, you want it to be down to the last one or two balls and that's what it happened today.
On defending nine runs off last over: Your heart is pumping isn't it? Nine of the last over was probably a position we thought we will never get to after the start we had in the first five overs. I think we were hoping to see one Shane Watson six which didn't come eventually. Malinga bowled a good over. Shane was tired, he was batting that long. It was a great last over of a final, going till the last ball and a crafty old fox like Malinga bowling a great delivery.
On the effort Deepak Chahar through the season: I had a couple of concerns at the start of the final. We lost a couple of bowlers to injury. Lungi Ngidi was a big loss for us. There was also David Willey, Billings. Mohit Sharma wasn't 100 per cent. So we were short on options but what the players did with the opportunity was great. Deepak Chahar had a good season last year and had an excellent season this year. Imran Tahir, at the age of 40, was inspiring. Harbhajan was very good. I am impressed with this department. We didn't get a good rhythm in our batting. But again we are in the final so can't make too many complaints.
On the selection of Shardul Thakur for the final: We have had our doubts about it. In Chennai we can get away with five bowlers on a spin dominated surface, that gave our batsmen some luxury. But outside Chennai, conditions are generally batter friendly so an extra bowler is always going to be important. We knew we had to make this change and Shardul was building up to that. MS too felt last game the spinners would dominate but in this game he was spot on with the selection.