Fleming lavishes praise on Gayle

“I haven’t seen a player have that much impact in a season yet. He’s been phenomenal,” the Chennai Super Kings coach said on Sunday after his team was crushed by eight wickets at the Chinnaswamy stadium, Gayle hammering an unbeaten 75. “It’s by luck that he was available to RCB through the injury to Nannes. They are very fortunate that they’ve got him, and he’s responded beautifully. A lot of their wins feed off him. I guess the challenge now in the semifinals and the final, whoever plays them, is to get him out early. If you get Chris Gayle out and you’ve got a few, you have a chance, getting him out will be priority number one.”

Sunday’s loss was the defending champions’ fifth away from home, in direct contrast to seven straight wins in their own backyard. “It’s probably just adjusting to conditions,” the former Kiwi skipper reasoned. “Conditions this year have been quite different around the venues. Here, it’s a little bit different -- probably a little bit more bounce, little bit more swing and seam. Maybe we’re playing one style of cricket for all venues and not adjusting quick enough.”

Fleming, through, refused to read too much into the Super Kings’ sub-par 128 for eight. “We just made some simple mistakes,” he remarked.

“Some of those shots could have come off and you’re probably talking a different game. I don’t over-analyse one loss. It certainly wasn’t a good day; we had an off day. It’s just a day where we lost wickets. Our batting has been very very good; today it wasn’t. End of story. We’ll look forward to the play-offs, at least we are there. I certainly won’t be coming down hard on them after today. We have got to stay positive and fearless.”

Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose to go with Suresh Raina’s part-time off-spin while totally ignoring Shadab Jakati’s left-arm spin. “Everything’s fine with him,” Fleming clarified. “I’d assume the skipper was apprehensive with Gayle batting, and quite rightly so. Chris is in wonderful form, and a left-arm spinner is someone he likes to hit.”

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