Batsmen needed to be more pro-active: Fleming

Chennai coach Stephen Fleming chats with skipper MS Dhoni after their IPL match against Kolkata Getty Images

Kolkata: May 8, 2011

Their four-match winning streak snapped, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said the defending champions needed to be “more pro-active” against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Super Kings, who have been invincible at home with an all-win record, slumped to their fourth away loss when Knight Riders defeated them by 10 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-marred IPL match.

The coach admitted that their batters failed to apply themselves against the Knight Riders bowlers, who did a good job in restricting them to 114 for four in 20 overs.

“We didn’t have runs on the board. We needed to take wickets but that did not happen. It was one of the days, we struggled on the pitch and a couple of wickets could have made the difference. We could have been a little more pro-active,” said Fleming.

Fleming said the teams in the fourth edition of the IPL are becoming smarter to use the home conditions well.

“I think teams are getting smarter. Use of home grounds is becoming an advantage this time around. I would not say they are doctoring pitches. But they are creating environment where the team has the best chance to win.

“That’s what the home advantage is all about. It’s all about winning and if you have got a formula that works at home then you must take it. It’s a challenge. We are not the only team that struggled well. I think conditions veering a lot more in different grounds. But yes we need to improve on our away record. We really need to win our next game,” Fleming said.

Fleming defended skipper M S Dhoni’s decision to bat after winning the toss under overcast conditions as the match was delayed by an hour because of a light drizzle.

“We thought the weather looks like to go through. We used whatever information we had. No one can predict about rains.

We don’t want to worry too much on rain on hindsight.”

The former New Zealand skipper, however, refrained from criticising the slow nature of the pitch.

“I rate it as a challenge… a good challenge. Even if the pitch is challenging the bowlers will have to bowl well.

From the outset the ball was stopping.

“It was just the pace of the pitch. I think Kolkata bowled extremely well. They bowled very well in key times. We sent Albie Morkel up the order with a positive approach but he could not time the ball. Subramaniam Badrinath was the only batsman who was comfortable.

“(Suresh) Raina, (Michael) Hussey they all are in good form. Vijay is an excellent player. But the conditions just did not allow us to win. We don’t expect to lose. But we are realistic when we lose. It’s just extremely tough competition, we got to make sure that we bounce back,” he said.