Despite being set a competitive 188 to win the Qualifier 1, Chennai Super Kings were in the hunt before Mumbai Indians’ Harbhajan Singh changed the complexion of the match with back-to-back dismissals of Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni in the 11th over.
Agreeing those two dismissals cost them the match, CSK coach Stephen Fleming said the result shows how strong Mumbai Indians are at the Wankhede. “It was a tough game and Mumbai are very difficult at home and we had already identified that,” said Fleming. “They played pretty well and they are a team who have worked hard. I thought we created opportunities which didn’t go our way. We had to get early wickets but they had very good opening partnership.
“I think we did a good job towards the end to restrict them to 187 which I think could have been chased. We were going until the two balls from Harbhajan Singh changed the match completely. It’s very difficult if you lose two big wickets close to each other. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni are huge players and their dismissals were a big turning point.”
Fleming, however, said the team is looking forward to the Qualifier 2 in Ranchi. “I think winning Tuesday’s game gave that team a huge advantage. The teams are getting pretty tired at this stage of the tournament and a couple of days rest certainly helps. We are not afforded that luxury now and Mumbai will turn up for the final in pretty good shape. We are disappointed at not having got the job done here but at the same time we have a chance to rectify it at Ranchi. It’s the skipper’s hometown and we relish playing there.”
Fleming also refused to comment on the controversial dismissal of Dwayne Smith after umpire Richard Illingorth ruled him out leg before despite the ball striking him outside the leg stump. “It’s a loaded question and I don’t want to answer them.”