For a team that won seven matches on the trot, it was a shocking performance by Chennai Super Kings as they surrendered meekly while chasing Mumbai Indians’ 139-5 at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.
Not only were Chennai bowled out for the first time below hundred, they also crashed to the lowest total of the Indian Premier League after being dismissed for only 79 (83 minutes) in 15.2 overs. The 60-run defeat was Chennai’s heaviest loss in all the editions since 2008.
CSK coach Stephen Fleming said it was a wake-up call that the team needed as the tournament reaches its business end. “With our batting line-up, it was more than a gettable target to chase. But we had a bad day. If the players needed a wake up call, then this certainly was a wake-up call.
“It was one of those days in the tournament which we would like to forget. I guess the positive is, it happened now. We have four more games left,” said Fleming after the defeat.
Though Chennai’s bowlers did extremely well to restrict MI to 139 for five, their batters just blew it away. Even those three lives off consecutive deliveries in the first over of the innings to Michael Hussey did not help. It was a unique hat-trick for Kieron Pollard, who dropped those three catches at point with the first one being the toughest, the second chance a little easier and the final one being the easiest.
Only three batsmen — Hussey (22), MS Dhoni (10) and Ravindra Jadeja (20) could ‘achieve’ double figures.
It seemed a bizarre tactic to send R Ashwin ahead of Dhoni. Fleming though defended the move.
“The most important thing was stopping the (fall of) wickets. We were not chasing a big total, so it did not matter wasting two to three overs. We had faith in Ashwin and thought if he could get a 10-20 partnership going with Hussey, it may change the game with the likes of Dhoni and Jadeja to come in,” said the New Zealander.
Fleming, however, felt the loss was coming. “Winning seven games in a row was a pretty good effort. It (loss) was just round the corner, striving to get to eight, nine or 10 (wins) was what we aimed for. The nature of the competition is such that it has not been done before. There is a reason for that because getting up all the time and performing well and being consistent is tough work. Today we were not just good enough to do that,” he concluded.