KKR are worthy successors: Fleming

CSK coach praises Knight Riders after their IPL title win

By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Chennai 28 May 2012
Chasing a hat-trick of IPL titles, the Chennai Super Kings faltered at the final hurdle of their unprecedented journey. A champion team, no doubt, but the Super Kings have had their problems this season. Despite all their ups and downs, CSK remain a battle-ready side willing to fight till the very end. Their peerless fighting spirit might have been dented by KKR in the final, but CSK coach Stephen Fleming feels that Gautam Gambhir’s side are worthy successors of the IPL crown. The Kiwi tactician admitted to have been taken by surprise by Manvinder Bisla’s onslaught, and he doffed his hat to KKR’s undying spirit.

Excerpts from a chat with CSK coach Stephen Fleming after his team’s five-wicket loss against KKR in the final of IPL 2012:

You gave it your best today, but couldn’t quite get past the line?

No, [it’s] disappointing. We played pretty well. I thought the batting was excellent. The bowling, under pressure, we weren’t as good as we could have been, and the fielding – five or six runs here or there we could have saved, might have been the difference. But a great final. Kolkata were excellent throughout the year. We stopped and started. But we came into the final and played well. After posting 190, we are very disappointed.

After posting 190, do you think the bowlers could have done better?

It’s a mixture of both. They played very well; [Manvinder] Bisla played well. We started very well with the ball, but his innings got a lot of momentum for their side and we weren’t able to pull it back. [Jacques] Kallis played the second fiddle very well and we were never able to shake them. But even with seven balls to go, we had a chance; there was a turning point there. That’s just the nature of T20 – we’ve been on the right side of it at times, [but] tonight we were on the wrong side.

After getting Gautam Gambhir out, you would have felt you were halfway there.

Yes, it was a big wicket; the one we wanted. We thought he’d probably have to get a lot of runs for them to win, but Bisla stepped up and really played a magnificent innings. And that’s what finals are about – where heroes are born. He’ll be toasted in Kolkata tonight, I’m sure.

You missed out on a title hat-trick. Do you think KKR are worthy winners?

Of course, fine winners. They’ve played well over here. They’ve played an excellent final. We said at half-time, if they get 190 and win it, then fair play to them. No complaints there, and certainly they’ve been a good side. Last couple of years, they’ve bought well, they’ve played well on their pitch – very similar to the style of cricket we play – and they were one team that we identified as going to be tough throughout the year at the start of the season. That’s come true, and hopefully, it starts a pretty good rivalry as we try and get it [the title] back next year.
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