Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming on Thursday said that skipper MS Dhoni is the heartbeat of the franchise after the wicketkeeper-batsman completed 200 games in yellow-jersey.
In Dhoni's milestone match, CSK registered their first win of the season as they defeated Punjab Kings by six wickets in a low-scoring affair here at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
"He has been absolutely the heartbeat of CSK, there's no doubt about it. Whether it's performances, guidance or leadership... you run out of things to say about him. His longevity also has to be mentioned and appreciated... to play 200 games and still have a desire to do well and perform well is a testament to his attitude towards the game and the franchise. I think the franchise has grown and MS has grown with it, so it's a very good relationship and great fun," Fleming said at the post-match press conference.
Bowling first, CSK restricted Punjab to 106/8 in their allotted 20 overs after a top-notch effort by the bowling unit. Deepak Chahar returned with the figures of 4-13 including a maiden over from his four overs.
Fleming lauded the pacer and said his ability to swing the ball was one but his control and skillset are also very high.
"I'm really impressed with the way he bounced back after the first game. We felt within our group that the conditions transpired against us with a little bit of drizzle and the dew in the last match and we weren't able to create any opportunities. So, the challenge was laid down to the bowling group on how they are going to operate a little bit better in today's conditions," Fleming said while replying to an ANI query.
"Winning the toss. I think it's important to acknowledge. So, there was some assistance there. And without a doubt, when Deepak gets a little bit of swing and a little bit of movement, he's one of the finest around. So, his ability to swing the ball was one but his control and also skillset are very high.
"So, the key really is keeping them a little bit simple in his plans and just operating in and around the stumps because he's so effective when he hits the ball swinging. Today was a great example of the skills he has. And as I say, great bounce back from probably a below-par performance in the first game," he added.
When asked about any changes in the top-order for the next game, the CSK coach said, "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."
CSK will next play against Rajasthan Royals here at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
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