IPL 2018: Faf du Plessis played because Sam Billings was injured, says Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said Faf du Plessis played in the first qualifier because of an injury to Sam Billings.

PTI, May 23, 2018 19:45:58 IST

Mumbai: Coach Stephen Fleming said Faf du Plessis, who single-handedly guided Chennai Super Kings into the final of Indian Premier League's 11th edition, played in the first qualifier because of an injury to Sam Billings.

Coming back after a two-year ban, two-time champions CSK last night pulled off a thrilling two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad to make their seventh final in the IPL, with du Plessis' unbeaten 67-run knock leading the chase.

IPL 2018: Faf du Plessis played because Sam Billings was injured, says Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming

Faf du Plessis scored 67 to lead Chennai Super Kings to victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad. Sportzpics

"Sam got hurt in the last game. He fell awkwardly on his hip and it has been quite bruised. He probably could've played if he was pushed but he was uncomfortable.

"So we just took that opportunity to keep Faf in the side, having introduced him in the last game. We've got different combinations that we can use and today I'm very happy that Faf was able to contribute the way he did," said Fleming in his post-match media conference.

Chasing a modest target of 140, CSK were down in the dumps at 92 for seven before Du Plessis (67 off 42 balls) engineered a stunning comeback.

"The player today who hasn't played that much came out on a bigger stage of the tournament today and for Faf to do that is a testament to his skills set and his mindset as well.

"Sometimes dumb luck... you just pick the guys at the right time and they just play and innings for the team that means so much and we saw one of those today," the former New Zealand skipper explained, adding, "Sam's injury made it pretty clear that Faf at one and Rayudu at four was the way to go."

The Qualifier 1 against the table toppers was only the fifth game that du Plessis played this season.

The South Africa captain grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

"The game obviously has its ups and downs and turns but we have had a season where we have won from unwinnable positions. Today was one of those, it seems. It's been individual players who have got us out of trouble and different players all the time. Of course, MS (Dhoni) is a usual culprit," Fleming noted.

The former New Zealand captain also heaped praise on young South Africa pacer Lungi Ngidi, who returned figures of 1-20 and accounted for rival opener Shreevats Goswami.

"He (Ngidi) has provided a spearhead for MS and it's improved the first six overs. So we're getting wickets in the front, Deepak Chahar is also swinging the ball.

"The two of them have provided opportunities to take wickets and that's allowed our other bowlers to come into the game a bit more, so he's (Ngidi) been quite instrumental, certainly reducing the scores we're chasing," added Fleming.

Fleming described his team's performance as just about good.

"We were okay today, Ngidi was great, (Ravindra) Jadeja was very good but it was an okay performance. We have been better, so I guess that's what we'll look at over the next four days," he said.

'Slow over rate a problem'

Fleming admitted that slow over rate has been a problem this IPL and blamed the hot and humid weather for teams taking too much time to get things moving.

"We can all feel how humid it is. Late season games in Mumbai and Chennai are going to be longer because the players do suffer. If a player bats, say for a period of time, they are under some stress," Fleming said after his side's win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first qualifier.

Chasing a modest target of 140, CSK were down in the dumps at 92 for seven, before Faf Du Plessis (67 off 42 balls) engineered a stunning comeback.

Speaking about the South African, Fleming said, "And Faf (du Plessis) is like a Ferrari car, he needs a lot of attention. So, it is always going to take time when he is over there."

Quite a few teams and captains have already been fined for slow over rate this season.

"But it can be sped up, there is time wasting in cricket in general, but that's a separate discussion. Slow over rates are killing the game, from Test cricket down. So it does have to be policed better, and players have to oblige a bit more," said Fleming, a former captain of New Zealand.

The Super Kings coach said yesterday was the only time in the season that his team was slow on the over-rate front.

"We're pretty good. That is probably the only game where we've been a bit slow. It's just a question for our team because I felt we were off mentally. And when you're wandering around without purpose, you take more time."

"We were seven minutes down at the drinks break and it was enough for me to crack the whip a little. So we were just off a bit today. And that contributes to the slowness of the game. We don't want to do that and we certainly want to improve," Fleming said.

Updated Date: May 23, 2018 19:45:58 IST

World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254