After beginning their IPL journey in grand style by thrashing the Mumbai Indians, the MS Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants seem to have fizzled out. After 3 games, the men from Pune just have a win on the board, and the pressure is on Dhoni’s boys now to perform well and set their record straight.
A common aspect in their losses to Gujarat Lions and the Kings XI Punjab was the lack of firepower with the bat in the death overs. MS Dhoni seems to be batting quite low in the batting order, as he is hardly getting any time in the middle. The likes of Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, and Kevin Pietersen have been guilty of throwing away settled starts.
Before their crucial fixture against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, coach Stephen Fleming said that he clearly expected improvements from the Supergiants. “I think the first ten overs of our each game so far have been very good. We just haven’t really kicked on to turn a 155 score a 180. We’ve got the power to do that and I guess it’s just keeping the faith and confidence to make sure that the guys in the second half of the innings finish off the work that has been done in the first half,” said Fleming, highlighting the lack of firepower in the latter overs.
Fleming also added that Pune were still jotting down their best and ideal combination. “We’re trying very hard to accelerate that process and get good information going forward as to what the best looking combination we have and we can put out,” Fleming said. “I keep stressing that. We just need to sit and make sure that those guys get into cohesion with their teammates and then we’ll be in a much better position. But at the moment, we’re just working very hard on the combination and making sure that the players are individually as good as they can be.”
The former New Zealand skipper praised rookie leg-spinner M. Ashwin for his stellar performances and said, “He’s been great but we just haven’t had the runs on the board to capitalize on that. If we can get another 15 to 20 runs, then his performances could be match-winning. At the moment, they are keeping us in the game but I’m pretty sure the batsmen would like to create an opportunity where it’s match-winning. Then he’ll get the attention, he’s been bowling well, given his lack of experience, and he’s doing everything we hoped he would do,” Fleming said.
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