Wickets of Raina, Dhoni changed the game: Fleming
Mumbai, May 20 (IANS) Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming has said that spinner Harbhajan Singh's back-to-back wickets of key player Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni proved to be the turning point, helping Mumbai Indians win Qualifier 1 and enter the Indian Premier League (IPL) final.
Mumbai's Lendl Simmons rose to the occasion as he scored 65 off 51 balls which was followed by man-of-the-match Kieron Pollard's 17-ball 41 that helped the hosts post a challenging 187/6 here on Tuesday evening. In reply, CSK lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 162 in 19 overs.
"Yes it was a tough loss, tough game for us. Mumbai are very good at home, we have identified that. They have played very well and worked very hard on their home conditions. We created opportunities that didn't go our way," Fleming said.
"We did well to restrict them to 187 but the game changed with the two balls of Harbhajan Singh in the 11th over. Losing wickets in clumps makes it difficult when you chase a big score. Wickets of two big players Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni were the turning point."
With the win, Mumbai entered the final to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 24. CSK will get a second chance to make it to the summit clash. They will face the winner of the Eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2 in Ranchi on May 22.
"The players are getting tired at this stage. So getting rid of a game and travel would have been good. But we couldn't afford that luxury. We now have to dig very deep. Disappointed not to win here but happy to have got another chance to prove and rectify our mistakes," said the former New Zealand captain.