Kumar Sangakkara
Rajasthan Royals Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara. Credits: IPL

Rajasthan Royals Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara said that his team could have controlled the first innings till the 15th over and then targeted Mumbai Indians in the death overs.

Rajasthan Royals lost to Mumbai Indians by eight wickets on Tuesday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The Royals were 41/2 at the end of the powerplay overs having lost both the openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Evin Lewis.

Mumbai bowled very well, and we lost too many wickets: Kumar Sangakkara

Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile (4/14) and New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham (3/12) ran riot through Rajasthan’s batting line-up as they held them for a paltry score of 90/9 in the first innings.

Sangakkara credited the Mumbai Indians bowlers and admitted RR batters failed to adapt to the conditions in Sharjah.

“We haven’t played here at Sharjah before, and watching the other games, it seems to be slightly better in the night. And today there was probably a little bit more pace. But once we had only 90 on the board, it was really tough unless you had this amazing powerplay with wickets and very few runs,” Sangakkara said in a post-match virtual press conference. 

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara. (Photo: IPL)

“The crucial part for us was we were 42 [41] for 1 after the powerplay, and the plan was then to extend it beyond the 13th-14th over with at least seven wickets in hand. So that we could really target a bowler or two and build that platform in the 15th over. Unfortunately, we didn’t adapt, Mumbai bowled very well, and we lost too many wickets and we could never attack at any stage. So probably the fault lies more with us than the pitch or the toss,” he added. 

These types of pitches are challenging and it’s about adapting your game: Kumar Sangakkara

Mumbai Indians chased the target within 8.2 overs to gain massive improvement in their net run rate on the points table.

The Sharjah pitch has seen a drastic change from last year’s tournament where teams would easily chase a target of more than 200 but this year the same teams are struggling to post a competitive score that suits the shortest format.

Royal Challengers Bangalore posted the highest score of 164 against Punjab Kings in the season. Sangakkara said that it is one of the challenging pitches to play on and it tests the skills and mindset of a player.

“These types of pitches are challenging and it’s about adapting your game and being smart on it. We’ve spoken about the Sharjah wickets in the lead-up to this game, what the bowlers have to do, what the batters have to do,” Kumar Sangakkara mentioned. 

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“That the first six overs will be easy and then it’s the case of building a platform… getting to about 15 overs with wickets in hand so we can capitalise at the back-end. For the bowlers, it’s about hitting that back of a length, hitting your cross-seams, fast cutters into the pitch.

“But you know on pitches like this, it tests not just your skill but also your flexibility and your mindset. So at times playing on pitches like this is not a bad idea. It’s not the greatest T20 pitch in terms of runs, but it is a challenging pitch in terms of coming to terms with it and then playing on it. It’s an experience, so we’ll have to wait and see how they’ll turn up for the (T20) World Cup,” Kumar Sangakkara concluded. 

Rajasthan Royals’ loss against MI can become a deterrent for them to qualify for the playoffs as they face Kolkata Knight Riders in their final league stage match on October 7.

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