IPL 2020 : Dhoni, Fleming admits, ‘CSK is struggling big time

Chennai Super Kings slumped to its third successive defeat as the MS Dhoni-led team fell short by seven runs in its chase of 165 in Dubai on Friday. Ravindra Jadeja’s half-century and Dhoni’s unbeaten 36-ball 47 kept Chennai in the hunt but Abdul Samad, summoned to bowl the final over, defended 28 with Dhoni visibly in discomfort.

“I’m alright, the throat starts to get dry in these sort of conditions,” said Dhoni after the match.

Dhoni struck one six and four fours during a knock where he struggled to break the shackles at different stages of the run chase.

“I was not able to middle a lot of deliveries, maybe trying to hit the ball too hard,” said Dhoni. “Looking at the outfield, it was subconscious. Long time back, we may or may not have lost three in a row. We have to get a lot of things right.”

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Dhoni was frank in his assessment of CSK’s performance in IPL 2020 so far. Chennai’s batting effort followed a familiar template: lack of boundaries in their PowerPlay and the middle overs, and not keeping up with the asking rate. Dhoni was particularly critical of CSK’s misfiring death bowling. “It’s the professionalism – dropping catches, bowling no-balls. We’re making the same mistakes again,” said Dhoni. 

“After the 16th over, we had two bad overs. Overall we could have been slightly better. Nobody wants to drop catches, but at this level, you have to draw a line that these catches have to be taken. Catches like these can really hamper your knockout stage games. What if this was a knockout game? A few areas to improve and we’ll come back stronger.”

SRH defeat CSK in IPL 2020, Fleming says ‘we need runs from top 4′

Fleming reckoned Super Kings gave up more than the eventual winning margin in the field itself.

“We just got a little bit loose with what we were trying to do,” he said at the post-match press conference. “The last four overs in particular, they were very good and we were patchy. And we just lacked a little bit of confidence in the field. So there’s little things all-round, there’s probably a dozen runs at least that we gave up just with the overthrows or bad movement. In a tight competition, that’s going to cost us and we know that. We’ve just got to get it right, got to get a bit of confidence and a bit of game rhythm and guys in form – and that can change pretty quickly. But also, if you don’t address them, then we’ll just slide away.”

The issue of not being able to keep pace with required run-rates is one that has dogged Super Kings in each of their defeats so far, and Fleming admitted it needed addressing.

“Yeah it is a concern and you don’t want to put yourself under pressure,” Fleming said. “We do need contributions from the top four if we’re going to win this tournament. So we need to get some form from some big players at the top, we’re still backing them. It’s a case of getting into the tournament. Fourth game in is still pretty early in terms of our cycle of form but there’s no doubt the pressure is on and they’ll be feeling it a lot more than what I’m talking about.
 
The Super Kings have been hurting themselves with conservative starts, leaving too much for the lower order and Dhoni. Three successive defeats with three failed chases. The Super Kings head coach Fleming had said earlier, those who adapt the best will do well this IPL – but CSK is far from adapting themselves to the conditions and without any doubt is struggling big time.