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Will never question the final over tactics of Dhoni: Fleming

Dhoni nearly pulled of a one-man heist over RCB

Bengaluru, April 22: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's refusal to take three singles in the penultimate over with Dwayne Bravo at the other end raised a few eyebrows but Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said he will "never question" the game-plan of Dhoni at the death.

With 36 runs needed in the last two overs, Dhoni refused three singles in the 19th over bowled by Navdeep Saini getting just 10 off it including a six off a no-ball.

In the last over, 26 runs were needed and Dhoni nearly pulled it off taking 24 runs off the first first five balls bowled by Umesh Yadav before Parthiv Patel ran Shardul Thakur out to earn RCB a one run win.

On Dhoni not taking those singles...

Maybe . I think more the reason was Dhoni felt he was best-equipped to hit the sixes. So the way he calculates the last few overs based on his power, he would've looked at it saying I need four-five sixes to win the game. And as it panned out, it was pretty close. He is so calculated that I would never question the last part of the innings of MS Dhoni. Yes, Bravo's got power, but if MS has got the feeling that he's going to win it this way, then back him every time. He's done it so many times. Tonight, he got us so close again, so I'd never question that.

On whether he was surprised that Dhoni missed the last ball...

No, that was just great cricket. It was well-bowled. To get that close, to look at the last ball, we're forgetting how he got us that close, and you've got to say great option from the bowler, and a great play from Patel. It's that close, what, 12 inches I think, tonight in a game that we probably shouldn't have won. What it's done is covered up an area of the game that's not going well, and that's top-order batting. So there'll be a lot of focus on how close we got to winning, but we won't cover up the fact that we should have been in a much better position than that.

On the middle order's dependence on Dhoni...

Unfortunately, just happens. It's not a plan. We've got a very talented batting order, which has been, you'd say, consistent throughout the years. You look at the side on paper and you'd say it's a strength, but unfortunately, we just haven't been able to string together partnerships or individual scores this year. We played on Chennai tracks, a little difficult to find form, and we've just struggled really on our away trips to get that momentum that comes from feeling good and confident. So, what we're bordering on is being a little reckless, trying to find that form, and today was an example where I think we crossed the line and just playing sensible cricket. We were being a little bit reckless, and that just comes from guys trying to find form and do the job. But what's happening is we're relying too heavily on Dhoni and Rayudu to patch things up, and we won't win the competition if that continues. So whilst we've been able to get seven wins, we're by no means happy with the way we've achieved all of them. We're happy to be crossing the line, but we'd like to see some form creeping back into the top order.

On whether sluggish Chennai pitch affects mindset when performing outside home...

It can, and we've been very conscious of that, so we train well on the grounds that we've gone to see if they're faster or more friendly batting conditions. But it's just getting a little bit of form back. You can't try too hard, so it's very hard to try and deliver messages when on the one hand the game, we've got to be positive and aggressive and take calculated risks. So the balance of what we say to the players and what they take out in the middle is very important. Maybe we're just missing the one percent in between, so we're looking to hit out way into form rather than just work our way into form, and we're getting great examples from Dhoni and those partnerships in the middle, but it's taking a little bit of time to sink in. So we'll go back to Chennai and it's going to be a grind, but if that's what it's going to take, then we have to grit our teeth and do it.

On the pitch quickening up and the absence of dew...

I thought it was excellent. There was some movement with the ball early on, swing, which was good to see for us and for them. I think in a game, getting the balance between bat and ball - those are the most entertaining games. We're used to seeing high-scoring games here. It might have been a little on the tacky side, but I still think for us to keep them to 160, we were very happy with that. We should have batted better and been in a better position to push for a win. We did it in a different way, but I thought our bowling and fielding were pretty good. So I was really happy with conditions. The dew didn't get out of control, which was good, and all in all, a good game with bat and ball.

 
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Story first published: Monday, April 22, 2019, 16:28 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 22, 2019
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