Chennai: Riding on opener Aaron Finch's blitzkrieg at the top and Steven Smith's explosive innings towards the end, Pune Warriors scored 20 extra runs and that "cost us dearly" in last night's Indian Premier League match, said Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming.
Finch scored a quick-fire 67 off just 45 balls with the help of 10 fours and two sixes, and together with Robin Uthappa, added 96 runs for the opening stand to give a rollicking start to Pune's innings.
After Finch, it was the turn of another Australian in Smith to hog the limelight, as he finished off Pune's innings in style with an unbeaten 39 off just 16 balls. "Finch was aggressive and had some good luck at the start but then the momentum was pretty important. It was a 140-145 wicket, but they got 20 more and that tilted the equation,"
Fleming said at the post-match press conference after Chennai suffered a shock 24-run loss. "The fact that we gave away 13 runs in the first over set the trend. Finch played a couple of good shots, especially on the back foot. Some how we did pretty well to hang in there but in the last few overs Steven Smith took Pune to a very good score.
"Smith is an annoying player. He has hit us a number of times. We try and plan for him but he is like AB de Villiers. He is very unorthodox," he said. Fleming refused to accept suggestions that Chennai were complacent, saying Pune just outplayed the hosts.
"No not at all," was Fleming's reaction when asked whether they took Pune lightly. "I can understand the concerns but I can assure you that it is not the case. The game against Royal Challengers Bangalore took a lot out of us the other night emotionally and physically so we were flat all the way through.
"Trust me there was no complacency around. We are very realistic about the quality of sides we play. To me there are match winners in every team and there is no scope to be complacent. We were just poor today," Fleming said.
"We can analyse our performance and accept that we were under par. We were just off the mark. The way we played in all aspects we were 10 per cent below Pune," the former New Zealand cricketer added. Fleming termed the decisions to leave out Michael Hussey for Srikkanth Anirudha and Ravindra Jadeja's promotion up the order as tactical moves.
"Looking at the whole competition we wanted to see how that dynamics would work. We haven't been overtly happy with our starts. We have been a bit conservative and it hasn't really got us anywhere. Looking at the balance of the Pune side, which doesn't have a Morne Morkel or Dale Steyn up front, we have dropped Mike Hussey. We wanted to explore the opportunity of being aggressive at the top and having hitting power through out the middle. That was the logic," he said.
"Mike Hussey is obviously world class. But we are looking to see if we can take it to the next level by being aggressive using all our resources rather than playing the same pattern of game every time," Fleming said.
"It is not big tinkering. It is about bringing in the allround skills of Albie Morkel and Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja coming up the order is not a surprise. It was a left hand right hand combination and he is in form." Fleming, however, vowed to comeback stronger in their next two away games.
"The result has put us under pressure to play well. But we are not panicking. We aim to get better by making the best use of our personnel. We have two away games on contrasting wickets coming up. Kolkata will be turning and Delhi will probably be a bit more seamer friendly. But we have got resources to play on both wickets," he insisted.
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