By Anand Philar
Chennai, May 27 (IANS): Playing the Indian Premier League (IPL) final at home and in familiar environment is a huge advantage that the Chennai Super Kings will enjoy and these factors could favour them on Saturday when they take on the winner of Friday's qualifier-2 game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Mumbai Indians.
Stephen Fleming, coach of the Super Kings, said that it would be tough for any team to be playing back-to-back games in local conditions as either Bangalore or Mumbai will have to since there is no break in between.
"It is nice to be back at home. We certainly do not want to take home conditions for granted. We have had been comfortable playing at home this year. If we wanted to play final, it is certainly at home.
"It is a huge relief that we made the final because there are pressures in such games. Back to back games will be tough to play in Chennai.
"We did know that if we come back to Chennai we will be a little more as favourites because of energy at home. These are the big things," said Fleming in a pre-match Media conference here Thursday.
When asked about the pitch conditions in India at this time of the year, Fleming pointed out that the Super Kings were particular about picking a playing eleven to suit the conditions.
"I have got a very good side. This time of the year, it is not much that they can do (with regard to pitch conditions). What we did was we picked the side for these conditions.
"We were smart enough to pick up a side that will play well at home. I am proud of that. There will surely be some advantage because we are conditioned to play at home.
"Will the conditions change, we have to wait and see. I cannot see much variations based on the manner of cricket that has been played on the pitches," the coach said.
Fleming discounted the view that the absence of specialist off-spinner Suraj Randiv, who is currently in England playing for Sri Lanka, has hurt the Super Kings.
"We knew that Randiv had to leave in between. Suresh (Raina) has really picked up well. In fact, the conditions suit his bowling.
"If we get some wickets of the top order and then Ashwin comes to bowl. The skipper uses Raina when it is more defensive with three or four down and we are not under more pressure so that we can create better environment for Suresh to bowl. He is a good bowler, but Bravo has also bowled well so far," Fleming asserted.
The coach said it did not matter much whom the Super Kings would be playing in the final, but tongue-in-cheek said it would be Kolkata Knight Riders and that he was glad they have been eliminated. On a serious note, he said there was no preference as to which side they would like to play in Saturday's final.
"Probably the team to play here with is KKR. They have spinners and got pace with (Jacques) Kallis and (Brett) Lee. I am pleased to see them gone.
"We were up against both RCB and Mumbai, and both have match winners in their sides. There is no preference because both may be tough opponents. It is very even and close call, and no preference," said Fleming.
The coach expected all-rounder Albie Morkel, who has had a pretty lean IPL this season, to fire both with bat and ball in the final.
"He has a lot of good things. He has taken 14 wickets. His potential to hit the ball across the boundary is big and he was waiting for an occasion.
"Each one wants more production. It is very tough for the player because he gets only two or three overs to bowl in a game. He has given his best effort a number of times and if he does not get on in the final, we will be surprised," he said.