'We were short of options against spin' - Sanju Samson reflects on where RR lost Qualifier 2 to SRH

Just days after successfully chasing 175 in the IPL 2024 Eliminator, RR fell 36 runs short of SRH's 176-run target in Qualifier 2.

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SRH vs RR. (Source -IPL/BCCI)

With seven wins in nine in chases in IPL 2024, it was anticipated that THE star-studded Rajasthan Royals would opt to field first against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. However, the virtual semi-final presented a high-pressure scenario and they eventually fell short by a telling 36 runs.

Reflecting on the loss which prevented RR from reaching their third IPL final in 15 seasons, skipper Sanju Samson noted that a lack of match awareness hurt them. He mentioned that despite the masterful left-arm spin from Shahbaz Ahmed and Abhishek Sharma against their right-hander-heavy middle-order, they could have employed reverse-sweeps or used the depth of the crease to neutralise the spinners' impact.

"I think we were found short of options in the middle overs against spin, and I think that's where we lost the game. Against left-arm spin, we had three-four right-handers in the middle and the ball was stopping. But we could've tried a bit more [options] - reverse-sweep or the use of the crease a bit more - and they [SRH] also bowled really well, actually," ruminated Samson, after his side's 36-run loss in Qualifier 2 of IPL 2024.

According to the host broadcaster, an intriguing statistic released after the game revealed that the Chepauk pitch offered 1.83 times more turn in the second innings (3.3° compared to 1.8° in the first innings). Reflecting on this, Samson mentioned the difficulty in predicting the dew before the toss and commented on the starkly different behavior of the pitch in the latter half of the game. He also pointed out that RR lost their way due to the combined potency of Shahbaz and Abhishek, whose aggregate figures of 8-0-47-5 were instrumental in derailing RR from their intended pathway.

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"It's actually very hard to guess - when we can expect dew or not [in Chennai]. So, the wicket started behaving differently in the second innings. The ball started turning a bit and they used the advantage and bowled spin in the middle overs against our right-handers and that's where they were one-up against us," added Samson.

As Dhruv Jurel showed, if you show intent, you can chase: Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara, RR's director of cricket, resonated with Samson's views, stressing on the importance of being more clinical in run-chases. He pointed out that Yashasvi Jaiswal's departure after getting well-set allowed the left-arm spinners to dominate through the middle overs even though Dhruv Jurel showed intent and smart shot-selection in his valiant 56 off 35. Sangakkara also credited how deep SRH batted and bowled.

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"I think we've got to be a lot more clinical in our chases and these games are not won quite easily. Jaiswal getting out at that stage brought the left-arm spinners into the game and after that, it was a little difficult, but it was a case of just hanging in there and getting the pace of the wicket again and getting the hang of the bowler. As Dhruv Jurel showed, if you show intent and if you play smart shots, you can chase a score, but, unfortunately, we weren't good enough on the day. I thought the Sunrisers held in, they batted deep, and their bowlers did a great job for them," reasoned Sangakkara.  

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