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Didn't have a good season with the bat: Fleming

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who walks in at number five, was Chennai Super Kings’ highest run-getter this season with 414 runs ahead of the final. When the skipper departed attempting a needless second run against Mumbai Indians here on Sunday, Chennai were put to a tough yet familiar test. At the end of a nerve-wracking final, CSK, chasing 150, had failed the test again, though by the slightest of margins.

It was a close run out that caused a stir on social media. However, keeping the debate aside, it is easy to conclude that the veteran’s dismissal was the turning point of the game. “It was a big moment.  The umpire took a long time to give the decision. It’s always a big moment when MS goes. He was really consistent this year. It’s also the calmness with which he operates that’s different from the other players. It (dismissal) does two things. Our job stops down a bit and it lifts the opposition,” said CSK coach Stephen Fleming at the post-match press conference here on Sunday.

While Dhoni had an off-day, one player who stepped up was Shane Watson. The Australian is now a final specialist for CSK. His 117 against Sunrisers Hyderabad last year in Mumbai gave Chennai their third title. He slammed a masterful 80 to take CSK to the doorsteps of victory but the 37-year-old lacked support. The scores of Ambati Rayudu (1), Suresh Raina (8) and Dwayne Bravo (15) told a sad story for CSK.

The middle-order struggle has been the theme of Chennai’s season. The spin-friendly surface at home, that raised eyebrows, made it tough for their batsmen to find their groove as the season progressed. “This year in Chepauk, it was tough, the conditions were tough to read, hard to play. Our batters weren’t big enough from the form point of view. If we look at the aggregate of numbers from our top order, we could have liked a bit more. We didn’t have a good season with the bat,” Fleming noted.

To pull off a title first and then reach the final next time is a brilliant achievement for an ageing team. But their talismanic skipper is in the final leg of his career. Their regulars Raina and Rayudu appear jaded. Chennai would know the importance of having some young guns in their ranks.

“At some point, we just have to look at recreating the side. Will be discussing with MS but first, he will be travelling to the World Cup. You need to do it carefully and get the balance right, when you try to go for players who you think can deliver for us,” Fleming offered.

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