Kolkata: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming lauded the efforts of Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final here, saying the opponents were "faultless".
Stephen Fleming. Pic/Suresh KK
Mumbai Indians beat CSK by 41 runs on Sunday night to clinch their second IPL trophy at the Eden Gardens after their triumph in 2013 at the same venue.
"They played really well, they were excellent. We wanted to bowl first; it was new pitch and it had grass. We watched some games that Kolkata (Knight Riders) played on and we thought we might get some assistance. We started well but then we got loose," said Fleming.
"Rohit Sharma in such good form and Lendl Simmons got into great momentum and we were just not good enough to stop them. Their game from the second over on was faultless and we stuttered. It was similar to the last 5-6 games we have played, we weren't at our best and were just trying to hang on, but it was not good enough."
Rohit and Simmons put up a 119-run partnership for the second wicket.
The New Zealander said if given another chance, CSK would have batted first.
"In hindsight, yes, we would have batted. But everything suggested we should bowl because it was a fresh wicket with good amount of grass on it. What we did not expect was inconsistency," he said.
"This ground is renowned for chasing, KKR do it all the time. They played a very smart game and we were always under the scoreboard pressure. We were often playing the catch-up game and that can make conditions worse. It was more pressure than anything else."
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to field came as a jolt to many experts, but Fleming defended him, saying it was a collective decision.
"We misread the pitch as a team. It is not science, it suggested it would be quite fresh. But it doesn't win or lose you the game in Twenty20. The way they played won them the game, they got the total on the board and then we did not bat as well as we would have liked to because of the scoreboard pressure," said the 42-year-old.
Speaking on winning just two of the six IPL finals that CSK has featured in, Fleming said, "It's not jinxed. We won the Champions League. It's just on the day and it's very tough to win when two good sides go at it. We have been beaten by some great individual performances. We have been below par for one, but the team has got us this far so we are proud."
Fleming said the loss of Brendon McCullum among others also resulted in CSK's downfall.
"We lost McCullum and a couple of key players so were staring down the barrel a little bit while they were on a high. We have been hanging on for the couple of weeks hoping more than looking for a good performance," said the former left-handed batsman.