IPL 2024
“I think it was a great season for us” – Kumar Sangakkara on RR’s IPL 2024 journey
By SMCS - May 26, 2024 9:40 am
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Rajasthan Royals had started well in the IPL 2024. However, they faced a different fortune in the second half of the tournament. And, they have been facing the same for two years now. Last year too they won four of their first five games and then lost in the next five games and ultimately missed the playoffs on Net Run Rate as well. However, the Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara said that it was the quirk of the fickle T20 format as well.

Avesh Khan
Avesh Khan bowled a phenomenal spell

“I think it was a great season for us. We started really well and then we lost a close game to SRH in Hyderabad and [in] Delhi also we put ourselves in winning positions,” Sangakkara said. “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 really phenomenal cricket. There was a little bit of fatigue of course at the back end but it doesn’t really matter when you’re in games like this, you gotta just turn up and perform.”

However, he denied that the RR’s late league-stage results had a bearing on the morale and confidence entering the playoffs as well. Moreover, they didn’t get the service of Jos Buttler, their in-form opener who returned to England for the preparation of the T20 World Cup as well. Notably, he scored two centuries in run chases in IPL 2024.

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“Confidence and morale is just about our preparation,” he said. “I mentioned RCB: they won everything at the backend, lost everything at the front and then lost to us in the crucial playoffs. It doesn’t really matter once you’re in a playoff game. It’s just about performing well on the day. We always say that the best ability is availability and unfortunately we lost Jos. He is a big loss without a doubt. 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,” Kumar Sangakkara said.

RR eliminated RCB

“I think all of us wanted to get over 45 runs in that PowerPlay minimum and we got 51. TKC couldn’t really get going but [Yashasvi] Jaiswal made up for it in that Bhuvi over. Once you hit 51, it’s just a case of batting and batting, and once you don’t lose wickets, the pressure is always on the opposition – whether you’ve to chase 12 runs an over in the last five with wickets in hand, it is not difficult to do as we saw today as well. It was just a case of being smart and keeping our composure. Unfortunately when you lose wickets in clusters it becomes hard. 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,” he further added.

Looking back at the season as a whole, Kumar Sangakkara applauded two of India’s fast bowlers, Avesh Khan and Sandeep Sharma, who between them took 5 for 52 in eight overs of bowling on Friday evening as well. While Avesh finished as RR’s highest wicket-taker – 19 wickets at 9.59 ER, Sandeep became a PowerPlay specialist and claimed 13 wickets at an economy rate of 8.18 as well.

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“First of all it was a really good trade we did. We had the opportunity to trade DDP [Devdutt Padikkal to LSG]. Padikkal was a great servant of RR. He did a great job for us but we needed a fast bowler and we traded 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’s got a great presence and good clarity, he’s very good at finishing off in the death. And 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. I think it is just a case of changing his role. We know that a lot of sides used him up front but with his pace and his skill, we kind of identified that he will be effective for us through the middle and the backend and that’s what we’ve tasked him with,” Sangakkara said.

Avesh Khan

“We didn’t have the services of Prasidh Krishna, Navdeep Saini was injured and came back halfway through the season. And for two seasons now Sandeep has been absolutely outstanding for us. He’s just a mature cricketer, he knows exactly what he can and can’t do. He sticks to the basics, he tries to swing the new ball and when he’s out of it, just changes of pace is really good. I think the percentage of effective yorker is over double the IPL bowler average for a right hander. So he’s got incredible skill and we’re very, very lucky to have him,” he again shared.

“I think looking back at the season it was wonderful to see Riyan [Parag] and Sanju the way they batted and the way they held this side together. Yashasvi Jaiswal on and off, Dhruv Jurel, I think he’s going to be phenomenal in every format that he plays. Then of course [Ravichandran] Ashwin, what he did for us, [Yuzvendra] Chahal… [Trent] Boult was absolutely outstanding right throughout he was phenomenal, Sandeep Sharma, Avesh Khan, the list goes on. Unfortunately we did lose this game but I think Rajasthan can be very, very proud of the side that we built. And I am personally extremely proud of everyone who played for us. We had a lot of support from the support staff and a lot of effort,” Kumar Sangakkara concluded.