IPL 2024: ‘Not many in the world who can do what Rishabh Pant did’, says CSK coach Stephen Fleming

April 1, 2024
Stephen Fleming, the head coach of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), felt the way Rishabh Pant took quick boundaries off Matheesha Pathirana

Visakhapatnam, April 1 (IANS) Stephen Fleming, the head coach of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), felt the way Rishabh Pant took quick boundaries off Matheesha Pathirana is something which not many in the world can pull off, adding that the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter has still got that ‘natural flair’ in his batting.

Before the 19th over, Pathirana enthralled the Visakhapatnam crowd by taking out Mitchell Marsh and Tristan Stubbs with perfect yorkers. But in that over, Pathirana pitched his yorkers too full and wide, resulting in Pant capitalising on them to hit a six and two fours to make a 31-ball fifty, before falling to the pacer, as DC reached a competitive 191/5.

Pant’s blitzkrieg after promoting himself to number three against Pathirana, apart from a trademark one-handed six against Mustafizur Rahman, proved to be a key differentiator in DC winning by 20 runs to get off the mark in the points table. “It was excellent batting. Pathirana had come off an excellent over in the over before, so quite rightly so he was lining up the wickets. Not many in the world who can do what Rishabh Pant did.”

“Pathirana has had a lot of success and it was a good contest. It showed that Pant has still got a lot of natural flair and that he played really well. If we were able to restrict them to 170 something, we’d have walked off pretty happy but the extra 12-15 runs were quite crucial in the end,” said Fleming in the post-match press conference.

Though CSK could only make 171/6, MS Dhoni sent the yellow-wearing majoritarian crowd waving the side’s flags and were endlessly chanting his name as the veteran smashed four fours and three sixes to be unbeaten on 37 off 16 balls, including smacking 20 runs in the final over off Anrich Nortje.

“It was beautiful, wasn’t it? And even the one-handed one over midwicket. He has been playing incredibly well in the pre-season. He’s coming back from quite a serious operation. He has been rehabbing well and his batting has been superb.

“And that performance gave a positive vibe towards the end of a tough day. So, to get to within 20 (runs) is important run-rate wise and the way he played was spectacular,” added Fleming.

He also felt CSK lost out on the match due to their performance in first six overs of both innings, where they allowed DC batters to have a flying start and then lost captain Ruturaj Gaikwad and Rachin Ravindra in the same phase during their chase of 192 to left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed.

“I think the result is a clear depiction of the teams played tonight, we were a little bit off tonight. We were slow to start, in the first six overs of each innings, we gave too many in the first six we bowled on either side of the wicket. They played well. When we batted, they (DC’s bowling) were very good, created pressure and used conditions very well.

“In between there were cameos, from both Warner and Pant at the end. We thought that we pulled it back with Pathirana’s wickets (of Marsh and Stubbs). But the flurry at the end pushed them to a good total. In the end, the 20 runs was a fair margin of win.

“Theirs ended up being quite high, at 60-odd after an okay start. And ours, we were in our 30s, that’s the difference. When you lose by 20 runs, that’s the margin. We had a lot of catching to do, their bowling plans were good. We had a late flourish but the damage was done in the first six overs,” concluded Fleming.



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