Stephen Fleming, the coach of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), expressed his disbelief at Ravindra Jadeja’s incredible match-winning performance in the IPL 2023 final. Fleming, who is known for his pragmatic approach, admitted that Jadeja’s near-improbable heist against the Gujarat Titans was as close to a fairytale as one can get in the world of sports.
With 13 runs required off the final over, CSK struggled to score off the first four deliveries. However, Jadeja demolished Mohit Sharma by smashing a six and a four off the last two balls, snatching the victory from the clutches of the Gujarat Titans.
“They say there are no fairy tales in sport, but it was a pretty good one today,” Fleming said during the post-match media interaction. He acknowledged the challenging journey Jadeja had endured, from the difficulties of captaincy to injuries, and his subsequent return to the Test side and CSK.
Fleming confessed that he had mentally prepared himself for another heartbreak before Jadeja’s remarkable display in the final over. The coach praised Jadeja’s batting prowess and emphasized the role MS Dhoni played in promoting him up the order.
“He plays a great role with the ball, but we have got so much firepower that sometimes we use him down the order. MS (Dhoni) has been very supportive and proactive in getting him up there, and today he repaid that faith,” Fleming added.
Reflecting on Jadeja’s shot selection, Fleming highlighted the defining six and the left-handed drive to the fine leg that sealed the victory. He commended Jadeja’s performance and expressed his happiness for the all-rounder, emphasizing his crucial role in the team.
Although CSK’s fielding was below par in the first half, Fleming noted that they gradually improved and gained confidence as the rain-affected match progressed. Despite setting a challenging target of 215 runs, the CSK coach believed that the moist pitch made it achievable.
Fleming praised the bowlers of the Gujarat Titans, particularly Mohammad Shami and Mohit Sharma, for pushing the contest to the final ball. He recognized the fine margins that define cricket matches and credited CSK’s ability to capitalize on key moments.
“This tournament is being defined by fine margins. I think the last couple of balls summed that up… if you just missed a yorker or go down the leg side. We have talked about that all the way through, that if you can just get on the right side of those moments, then we can stay in, and it was one of those days,” Fleming concluded.
The thrilling victory by CSK and Ravindra Jadeja’s exceptional heroics will be remembered as one of the most remarkable moments in the history of the IPL.