The defeat at the hands of Kings XI Punjab the other day, notwithstanding, Chennai Super Kings, backed by a vociferous home crowd, would still hold an edge over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Saturday’s Indian Premier League match, coach Stephen Fleming said on Friday.
After two consecutive wins, defending champions CSK slumped to a surprise six-wicket defeat against Kings XI Punjab in an away match.
But Fleming believes home support and their set of core players from previous IPLs, gives them an advantage over other teams in the ongoing Twenty20 event.
“We still have an edge tomorrow because we are playing at home. But we still have to be on top of our game, we have to be sharp and accurate in what we do,” the former New Zealand captain told reporters on the eve of the match here.
“I said from the start that we have a small advantage because we have core players from the previous editions. But that advantage is slowly running out,” Fleming added.
Although the disappointment of the loss against Kings XI is still fresh in his mind, Fleming said it was one man’s show — Paul Valthaty — which made the difference.
Chasing a mammoth 188 for four, a little-known Kings XI batsman Valthaty spoiled CSK’s party with a blistering 63-ball unbeaten 120 to see the Punjab side home.
“Disappointed to lose the last game but you have to give credit where it is due. The other night, we saw the unearthing of a talent (Valthaty. It was an innings full of flair. The first six over of the match produced five runs an over but the remaining 14 went for 10 an over,” the CSK coach said.
“IPL is a great advantage for young Indian players as they get the chance to share the dressing room with experienced international players. It was disappointing to be at the receiving end but it was a nice story, the type of fairytale story that IPL is made of.
“We will take 188 every day. We saw a great innings against the other day. When you make 180-190 consistently, you usually win more matches than you lose,” Fleming added.
He said CSK has been bolstered by the return of Michael Hussey and Doug Bollinger.
“Hussey and Bollinger are great additions to our squad and it’s good to have them back. It’s nice to have options, and now we have the headache of selecting the right team,” Fleming said.
The CSK coach also hinted that Hussey might play tomorrow against RCB.
“Hussey has a pretty good chance of playing. He has always been a keen member for us. We generally choose all-rounders because Albie is our star player. Usually we go in with three overseas bowling options because the quality of Indian batting gives us the option of doing that,” he said.
Asked about the importance of toss in Saturday’s game, he said, “In a night game, toss is probably not as vital. It’s a pitch that’s very hard to read. It has tended to be slow but suddenly it gets its pace back.”