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Chennai Super Kings suffered their second successive defeat, losing by three wickets to Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Stadium on Monday. The win helped DC leapfrog CSK into first place in the IPL points table. Both teams have already qualified for the playoffs but are looking to secure a top-two finish to have two bites of the cherry in the playoffs, if they happen to lose a game. In the match in Dubai on Monday, CSK captain MS Dhoni struggled to get going and was finally dismissed for 18 having played 27 balls, a strike rate of 66.66. Dhoni’s sluggish knock meant CSK could only manage 136 for five, which in the end didn’t prove to be enough as DC chased down the target with two balls to spare.

When asked about Dhoni struggling to get going with the bat, CSK coach Stephen Fleming, speaking at the post-match virtual press conference said, “He wasn’t the only one. It was a difficult day for strokeplay. It was a tough wicket to score big on, in terms of the big shots. Both teams struggled with that towards the end of the innings.”

“Sometimes you set your sights too high, too many. Probably we were 10-15 runs short of having a match-winning score. That’s the difficulty at the moment, trying to assess what the conditions are in all three different grounds. There was no lack of intent, we just had to stabilise after a couple of mistakes,” he added.

“The other thing was their attack bowled very well. The last last five overs were very smart. So, it was tough going.”

CSK have now suffered back-to-back losses, which will be a cause of worry for the team going into the playoffs. Fleming, though, wasn’t too perturbed by it but did say that the team needed to get back its intensity with crunch time approaching.

“I would rather have two defeats now than two semi-finals. Today was a bit scrappy. There was a lot of mistakes from both sides. Sometimes, when you have qualified things do change a little bit. We have worked very hard to keep up the intensity. We are on the back of three games in five days with the travel. There were probably clumsy mistakes from us, which was the most disappointing aspect.”

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“But in terms of the competition, one of the key things is just rebounding. Second on the table, chance to get a top two place is a positive position but we need to get our intensity back and the rhythm we had before these two games,” said the New Zealander.

CSK’s final league game this season is against Punjab Kings in Dubai on Thursday.

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