After stumbling to a seven-run loss against SunRisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming defended the decision to send out Kedar Jadhav ahead of MS Dhoni, saying the right-handed batsman is a number four batsman while the CSK skipper is a middle to backend player.
"He is our number four, Dhoni primarily is a middle to backend player, Kedar Jadhav is our number four, he plays a dual role, if we get off to a good start he might move down and let Dhoni up. If you lose early wickets then your number four batsman goes in," said Fleming while answering an ANI query during a virtual post-match press conference.
His remarks came as CSK failed to chase 165 runs and the side was restricted to 157/5, losing the game by seven runs.
CSK found itself at 26/2 while chasing 165 for the win and it was then that Jadhav came out to bat in front of Dhoni. The right-handed Jadhav only scored 3 runs off 10 balls and he was finally sent back to the pavilion by Abdul Samad.
During the chase of 165, CSK found itself at 42/4 and it was then that Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja got together to form a 72-run partnership. Jadeja went on to score his first IPL half-century, and Dhoni remained unbeaten on 47.
Talking about Jadeja's innings, Fleming said: "Jadeja's innings was good, we were in trouble so it meant Dhoni and Jadeja had to take their time. They got us pretty close and Dhoni's momentum was pretty encouraging."
Shane Watson, who has not been in good form so far in this year's IPL tournament, was sent back to the pavilion by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The right-handed batsman could only score one run.
"You do not want to put yourself under pressure and we have got players who are looking for some form. Faf du Plessis is a player who is in form and Rayudu is coming back from an injury. We are a bit disjointed but we do need contributions from our top four batsmen if we want to win the tournament, we are still backing our players," Watson said.
"Both Watson and Jadhav are looking for substantial contributions, Shane can light the fuse at any stage and Kedhar the same, it's just our fourth game so it's pretty early in our cycle of form but there is no doubt there is pressure and they will be feeling it more than what I am talking about," he added.
While batting first, SunRisers Hyderabad found itself in a spot of bother at 69/4 and big guns like David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, and Kane Williamson were all sent back to the pavilion.
It was then that youngsters Abhishek Sharma and Priyam Garg got together at the crease to form an 83-run partnership. Priyam remained unbeaten on 51 while Abhishek scored 31.
"We sat through the meeting, we discussed both Abhishek Sharma and Priyam Garg, there was footage available on them and a lot of planning was done for them. They both played really well, that's youth for you, I think we got a bit sloppy from the 15th over onwards, I thought we could have bowled better at them but the bowling striking was very good," Fleming said.
"We just got a little bit loose with what we were trying to do, the last part, in particular, they were good and we were a bit patchy. We just have to get it right and have some game rhythm," he added.
SunRisers Hyderabad will next take on Mumbai Indians on October 4 while CSK will lock horns with Kings XI Punjab on the same day.