Stephen Fleming
Stephen Fleming. Image-

Stephen Fleming, the Chennai Super Kings head coach, throws his weight behind opener Ruturaj Gaikwad who has registered a couple of low scores at the start of the IPL 2021. The right-hander was dismissed for 5 runs off 8 balls against Delhi Capitals and followed it up with 5 off 16 versus Punjab Kings.

While CSK won the game against KL Rahul’s side, questions on Gaikwad’s place are fair considering Robin Uthappa and Cheteshwar Pujara are on the bench. However, Stephen Fleming reckons the 24-year-old will continue to open and that the management has given its full backing to the Maharashtra batsman.

Ruturaj Gaikwad made his IPL debut last season. He started off disappointingly with 3 single-digit scores but came back strongly with three consecutive fifties at the end of the season.

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I am happy with the balance we have got in the team. Ruturaj (Gaikwad) is a fine player. He got a good ball in the first match and very difficult conditions today (Friday). It’s wasn’t a 220-run wicket today. It was much different. Ruturaj was a player we showed faith in last year, and his talent came through. Our philosophy when we pick players and put them in the team is to back them. This combination (Ruturaj-Faf du Plessis) is simply that,” Stephen Fleming said at a virtual press conference after CSK’s victory on Friday.

The performance today from the XI was very encouraging: Stephen Fleming

The former Kiwi captain says that CSK’s performance on Friday was “encouraging” – this comes in after the side failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, and were rocked by the Dehli Capitals batters. The bowlers restricted Punjab to 160 which the batsmen chased down comfortably.

Stephen Fleming confirmed that pacer Lungi Ngidi is released from quarantine, and the side will be bolstered by his return as they still might need an express pace bowler. MS Dhoni’s side challenges the Rajasthan Royals on Monday at the same venue, which according to Fleming played against expectations on Friday.

Chennai Super Kings, Punjab Kings, Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar’s 4/13 laid the cornerstone for the win [Image-IPLT20]

“When you put in a performance like this, it is hard to argue. We have Lungi Ngidi, who has now become available. But he is only out in the next couple of days. We will see how he comes out of quarantine. The performance today from the XI was very encouraging.

“Now it a case of really assessing the conditions. Everyone thought that there are going to be high-scoring slog-athons. But now there’s a little bit more out. So the team you pick and the tactics that you use (become important). We are really happy about that. We like the opportunity when there is a bit in the wicket. Really encouraged with the way the XI played,” Stephen Fleming stated.

Chennai Super Kings came up with a special gift for their skipper MS Dhoni, who completed his 200 matches for the franchise yesterday by winning the game against Punjab Kings.

Also Read: MS Dhoni Lauds Wankhede Pitch After CSK’s Six-Wicket Win Over PBKS