Fatigue played a part at the back end of IPL, admits RR’s Director of Cricket Sangakkara

PTI, May 25, 2024, 12:00 PM IST

Image credit: PTI

Chennai: Rajasthan Royals’ Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara has admitted that fatigue played a big part in their poor run at the back end of the ongoing IPL, which possibly derailed their campaign.

RR, who won eight out of their opening nine matches, were firmly in contention to finish in the top two.

But, the Sanju Samson-led side endured a four-match losing streak besides a washout tie, which forced the side to settle for a third-place finish.

Although they bounced back with a win over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the Eliminator, Sunrisers Hyderabad got the better of RR in Qualifier 2 here on Friday.

“I think it was a great season for us. We started well, and then we lost a close game to SRH in Hyderabad and (in) Delhi also, we put ourselves in winning positions,” he said during the post-match media interaction after their 36-run loss to SRH.

“Sometimes you have streaks. RCB lost almost every game at the start and then caught up. That’s how T20 goes. All we can do is put ourselves in positions of playoffs and vying for finals, which we did.

“I think all the guys throughout the season played phenomenal cricket. There was a little bit of fatigue at the back end, but it doesn’t matter when you’re in games like this. You gotta turn up and perform.”

Chasing a target of 176, RR were 65 for two by the eighth over, but kept on losing wickets in clusters thereafter, leading to their downfall. Commenting on the defeat, Sangakkara felt the middle-order could have done better.

“It was just a case of being smart and keeping our composure. Unfortunately, when you lose wickets in clusters, it becomes hard,” he said.

“Even in the RCB chase, if you lose wickets, it gets tense and close. Unfortunately, we needed a little bit more from our middle-order.” RR were also without Jos Buttler, who has been a force for the team in the top order.

While Sangakkara said that international scheduling was something that they couldn’t control, he felt that other batters should have stepped up.

“We always say that the best ability is availability, and unfortunately, we lost Jos. He is a big loss, without a doubt,” he said.

“When you’re in a playoff like this, and you’ve got that start without Jos, we expect the other batters to also step up.” RR have a few players travelling to the Americas for the T20 World Cup next month, namely Avesh Khan, Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal and Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Avesh has been the side’s highest wicket-taker for the season, with 19 wickets in 15 innings at an economy of 9.59, and Sangakkara was all-praise for the fast bowler.

“We traded Devdutt Padikkal (to Lucknow Super Giants) for Avesh because we knew how good he was, and he’s shown that throughout this tournament. And, that’s why he’s a travelling reserve as well for the World Cup for India,” he said. “He’s got a great presence and good clarity. He’s very good at finishing off in the death. I think he’s been phenomenal for RR.

“And, we couldn’t ask for a better trier. He bowls a lot in training. He’s always up for a game. I thought again today he was outstanding.”

“Don’t have time to commit full-time to an India coaching job”

Sangakkara clearly refused any intention of applying for the India head coach’s job, citing time issues.

“I have not been approached, and I don’t have time to commit full-time to an India coaching job. Happy with my stint with Royals, and let’s see how it goes,” he concluded.

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