Bengaluru: Head coach Stephen Fleming said Mahendra Singh Dhoni's unbeaten 70 might hog the headlines but it was opener Ambati Rayudu's 53-ball 82-run innings which set things up for Chennai Super Kings as they secured a five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"Dhoni is going to get a lot of headlines but the innings from Rayudu was outstanding as well. He has been the form player for us in all conditions and has followed on from the Hyderabad game with another instrumental knock," he told reporters at post-match press conference late night here.
He said Rayudu has been instrumental in winning games for Chennai Super Kings with his ability to bat aggressively. "The power game he has got has gone unnoticed but we certainly value the performances that he has put in this year so far. He has been instrumental in us winning games and staying in the games. I couldn't be more happy with him," he said.
Fleming said the security and support of the team has given confidence to Rayudu. "Opportunity. Having the confidence that he is a part of this team. And also the backing of the team to play aggressively. He has batted at a couple of different positions but has got the confidence and the security of a regular position. He is now experiencing how good he can be with some good form and confidence," he said.
Fleming also lauded AB de Villiers for putting RCB in a strong position with his 68 off 30 balls. "De Villiers, I thought, had won the game for Bangalore," he said. "We thought it was going to be slow and difficult wicket and I think it was. It's just the fact that de Villiers countered us so well. We had our spinners ready to go but his onslaught just took them out of play. So from a tactical point of view, that really put Bangalore in a strong position," he said.
Fleming, however, backed his bowlers despite conceding 205 runs. "I don't think we bowled too badly. I think AB de Villiers took the game away from us and he has done that to many teams. Just as good as Dhoni is at the death, AB through the top and the middle was superb. He countered everything we had today," he said.
"But I think we hung in there pretty well. You could bowl a lot worse than we did today. It was good batting by RCB. We asked some questions and the answers were emphatic from de Villiers and de Kock.
"So I have no problems with that. Yup, we would love to bowl teams out for 130-140 but if we are chasing down the scores they are getting, means we are doing okay," he said.
Meanwhile, RCB's Quinton de Kock said they completed the spells of their top bowlers Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal early to give them the chance to take early wickets as CSK bat deep. "The thinking was Chennai have got a long batting line-up," he reasoned. "We were looking to get early wickets and we got them. Obviously, against Chennai you need to pick up wickets early or they will bat you out in 20 overs. So we gave ourselves the best chance and tried to pick as many wickets we could," he said.
Asked why Corey Anderson was asked to bowl the last over instead of Washington Sunder, de Kock said, "We were trying to make sure they hit us to the longer boundary, not to the shorter boundary. That was the thinking but when you have got a guy like Dhoni, he knows how to outwit certain bowling at the death."