Rajasthan Royals head coach Kumar Sangakkara said his batters “weren’t committed enough” to take the attack to the Lucknow Super Giants bowlers in the second half of the run-chase, which led to their second defeat of the Indian Premier League 2023.
Chasing a target of 155 on a tricky Jaipur surface, openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler got Rajasthan off to a solid start, adding 87 runs in 11.3 overs. Rajasthan needed 74 runs in the last nine overs but fell short by 10 runs.
“Our openers put on a really good stand. We were needing 8 per overs when the 12th over finished with 10 wickets in hand, that’s not very difficult,” said Sangakkara at the post-match press conference.
“Unfortunately, we lost three wickets in three overs. We still should have gotten over the line. We had enough batting in the shed. We left it a little bit too late and needed too many boundaries in the end.
“At the back end, especially (Ravi) Bishnoi’s last over, we weren’t committed enough to take him down for three-four sixes. Even if the batter got out that time it didn’t matter.”
The surface was surely not an easy one to bat on and it got tougher and tougher as the match went on. “I think we got a better powerplay than they did. It was all about targeting one or two over but unfortunately every time we wanted to do that we lost a wicket.
“It was a difficult wicket to bat on as the ball got older but they also bowled very well. It was a tough pitch and Lucknow bowled really smartly but at the same time we should have got over the line.”
The Royals are still at the top of the points table but they would be worried about Riyan Parag’s form. The spin-bowling all-rounder from Assam had a fantastic domestic season but has managed only 54 runs @ 13.5 and a strike rate of 112.5 this season. On Wednesday, the young batter got 15* off 12 but couldn’t get RR over the line.
“In that situation (last couple of overs), he can just go out and hit as many sixes as quickly as he can. It’s a very clear plan that Riyan has. We had Dhruv (Jurel) to kind of take care of the pace and we just needed 2-3 sixes in the middle overs,” Sangakarra said.
“He’s (Parag) been batting well in the nets. We do back our players quite well … Unfortunately, he hasn’t been in good form. We will assess that and address that at his training and see where we get to over the next few games.”
Sangakarra, however, heaped heavy praise on R Ashwin who finished with figures of 2/23 in the first innings. This season, the offspinner has claimed eight wickets at an economy rate of 6.8 and a strike rate of 18.
“He (Ashwin) is just concentrating on bowling his stock ball, he trusts his variations. He has a great series in terms of Tests, bowled a lot of overs.
“He understands that the ball is coming out really well. He is getting his under-cutter going and he has got his carrom ball. He is in amazing form for us and I think it is a good lesson for all the bowlers on a pitch like this.”