Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina did not have an impressive IPL 2015 so far.Deepak Malik / SPORTZPICS / IPL

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have once again qualified for the playoff stages in the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015. They have been doing so ever since the tournament began. Coach Stephen Fleming is wary of the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent Mumbai Indians (MI) and feels that the absence of Brendon McCullum will impact a lot. At the same time, he wants Suresh Raina to fire. 

CSK have topped the standings after the league stage and they have a tough ask in Qualifier 1 of IPL 2015, as they will lock horns with the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians (MI), who have had one of the most dramatic tournament so far.

Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith have given CSK brisk start to their innings in each math but now they will miss McCullum as he has headed to New Zealand to join his national squad. The veteran Michael Hussey will replace him and this will make skipper MS Dhoni ponder whether Hussey would deliver the way McCullum did.

"McCullum's absence will impact a lot. He's an excellent player. We had known about it for some time. Introducing Mike Hussey in the last game, even though he did not make a major contribution, was important. Dwayne Smith has got a very good record here.

"We have been planning for this for some time. We would have liked to have given Mike Hussey a bit more time. We were just not able to get that final win to give us the luxury of introducing players.

"I have every confidence in Mike Hussey. He's been one of our most consistent performers over the years and the way he trains suggests he would be there and thereabouts," said Stephen Fleming in an interview to the official website of the IPL.

Meanwhile, Suresh Raina did not have an impressive tournament so far, and looking at his past IPL records, this year has not been his year. He has scored 400-plus runs in every single edition of IPL earlier, and thus knowing his capabilities, coach Fleming wants a special knock from this crafty left-hander.

"Looking at his high standards over the years he's due (for a big score). It's not that he's been batting badly or practicing badly, he's been in excellent touch. It's about just converting those into a score of note. And the last innings he played was good as he saw the game through and he likes playing at this ground.

"He's one of those players we are hopeful will stand up. Big players and big occasions win those matches. He's certainly one of those. He's done it for us a number of times.

"He's one guy we are attuned to. The beauty of this team is we have several players like that. Certainly Suresh Raina, with the absence of McCullum, will look to be the mainstay," added Fleming.