Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fell short of a run in their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) but what captivated the attention of the audience at large was MS Dhoni’s masterclass. Hitting a scintillating 48-ball unbeaten 84 but in a last-ball thriller in the 39th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday, Dhoni registered his highest T20 score, where he hit five fours and seven sixes as Chennai almost handed Bangalore their eighth loss of the season in their 162-runs target.

“Maybe, I think more the reason was Dhoni felt that he was best equipped to hit the sixes. The way he calculates the last few overs based on his power he would have thought we need four-five sixes and we win the game. He is so calculated that I would never question what he does during the back end of the innings,” Fleming told reporters.

The coach’s opinion came after CSK lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by one run on Sunday. Dhoni refused to take singles in the penultimate over of the match and gave Dwayne Bravo the strike, which made few heads turn.

CSK needed 26 runs off the final over to chase down the total of 162 when Dhoni struck 24 runs but missed on the last ball, allowing RCB to snatch a one run-victory. Wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel staged a run-out of Shardul Thakur. However, Fleming refused to criticise Dhoni for missing the last ball and credited RCB for sticking to their plans on the final delivery of the match.

“No, that’s just good cricket. It was well bowled, to look at the last ball, you’re forgetting how Dhoni got us so close. You have to say great option from the bowler and great play by Patel,” Fleming said.

Chennai have been bogged down by poor batting performances of their batsmen. The team has not been able to get off to good starts and there is too much reliance on MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu. Fleming believes the top-order batsmen need to step up if the team wants to spring together winning performances.

“Unfortunately that just happens. It’s not a plan, we have a very talented batting order, which has been inconsistent throughout this edition of the IPL. We have not been able to string partnerships, we have struggled on our away trips to create some momentum. We are relying too heavily on Dhoni and Rayudu to patch things up and we won’t win the competition if this continues,” Fleming said.

Chennai are currently placed at the pole position in the league standings of the IPL with 14 points from 10 matches.

The team next takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, April 23.

(PTI Inputs)