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Competition is going to be very tight: Fleming

Pavitra Sazawal | May 9, 2008, 9:34 PM IST

New Delhi: The Chennai Super Kings arrested an alarming slide with a thrilling victory over the Delhi Daredevils on Thursday.

Now, Dhoni's men will feel secure about a semi-final spot with 10 points on the board. CNN-IBN's Pavitra Sazawal spoke exclusively to one of the key men in the Super Kings camp - the former Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming.

Stephen Fleming: The game against Delhi was a very close game and was full of pressure and we felt the pressure. In the last week the results weren't going our way but against Delhi we played well enough to win the game, though it wasn't a complete performance but we are delighted to win against a good side.

CNN-IBN: And you must also be delighted with your own performance as well. Finally, you were among the runs against Delhi?

Stephen Fleming: We lost two great players in Hayden and Hussey and so I guess, I felt that responsibility. I had to play well at the other end in order to get something going. So, hopefully, this was the start for me and I should be able to contribute and that will be great.

CNN-IBN: The opening partnership with Vidyut (Sivaramakrishnan) was really crucial in the match against Delhi. Wasn't it?

Stephen Fleming: Yes, we needed a good start and it was a good pitch and good conditions so, we knew that the couple of partnerships would get us close. We are delighted to gain two points and points in this stage of the competition is a good result.

CNN-IBN: In the middle it looked like as if Delhi would take the game away. Where did you think that your team can pull it off?
Stephen Fleming: Whenever you lose a wicket, you got to take a little bit of a time and we had some great hitters. Dhoni and Morkel have the power and we played an extra batsman also, so, that gave us confidence. But it was just a case of trying to get it close to the score and try and get a couple of big overs. Morkel had a great over against Sehwag.

CNN-IBN: After 8 games, how would you rate or assess Dhoni's performance as captain?

Stephen Fleming: He is very cool, very calculative. He gives the team a confidence. I think, we are all learning as well, there are things which we are trying and trying to improve. We have also lost a lot of our key players as well. We are having to think about things a lot more and in a lot smarter way. And we are doing that and Dhoni is leading the way.

CNN-IBN: As you said it was very difficult for you to have lost Matthew Hayden, MIchael Hussey and Jacob Oram at the same time. So, what was going inside the team and what were you guys talking about? How to fill the void?

Stephen Fleming: There was just a little bit of a doubt. I think we were trying too hard to make up for Hayden at the top and Hussey in the middle order and thus, were making mistakes rather than playing at our own pace. Now, we have got a good start against Delhi and we know what we carry on.

CNN-IBN: Now that you have reached the second stage of the IPL, with 6 or 7 more games to go before the semifinals, so how do you now see the next two games?

Stephen Fleming: Each team is capable of beating each other and you are under pressure when you lose 2-3 games. But if you do things well and continue to do them well then you come close to the semifinals. But, you are not exactly going to see a team going way ahead in this competition. It is going to be a very tight competition and that is what the results have shown so far. We will try and put another two wins under our belts and be on the safer side, though we would like to win all our games.

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3 South Africa 2917 108
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4 Australia 5470 112
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2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
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5 India 7273 260
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