IPL 2021: Fault lies more with us, not toss, not pitch, says RR’s Sangakkara after loss to MI

RR suffered heavy defeat against MI | BCCI/IPL

Rajasthan Royals (RR) director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara admitted that his team failed to adapt to the conditions in Sharjah, while insisting they couldn’t blame the pitch or losing the toss for RR’s 8-wicket defeat against Mumbai Indians (MI) in an IPL 2021 contest on Tuesday, October 5.

Asked to bat, RR managed just 90/9 in 20 overs, as MI’s Jimmy Neesham (3/12), Nathan Coulter-Nile (4/14), and Jasprit Bumrah (2/14) bowled exceptionally before Ishan Kishan’s quick 50 secured the game for MI inside just 8.2 overs in Sharjah on Tuesday.

After RR’s heavy defeat against MI in a low-scoring match, Sangakkara denied that the toss was a big factor in the game, as the pitches in Sharjah haven’t produced a run-feast and have been challenging for the batters in the ongoing IPL 2021, saying the fault didn’t lie with toss or pitch.

Sangakkara said after the match on being asked whether toss was a big factor in the contest: “Well, you could probably say that, we haven’t played here at Sharjah before and watching the other games, it seems to be slightly better in the night and there was probably little bit more pace.”

He continued, “But once you have only 90 on the wicket (to defend), it was really tough unless you had this amazing power-play with wickets and very few runs. The crucial part for us was, we were 42/1 after the power-play and the plan was 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 a platform beyond the 15th over.

Unfortunately, we didn’t adapt, Mumbai bowled very well and we lost too many wickets, so we could never attack at any stage. So probably, the fault lies more with us, than just the pitch or the toss.”

On the Sharjah pitch, the Sri Lankan batting legend said: “These types of pitches are challenging and it is a case of adapting again and being smart on it. We spoke about the Sharjah wickets in the lead up to this game, what the bowlers have to do, what the batters have to do.”

He continued, “But on pitches like this, it really tests out 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 is not the greatest T20 pitch in terms of lot of runs, but it is a challenging pitch in terms of coming to terms with it and then playing on it. So it’s an experience, so we will have to wait and see how they will turn up for the (T20) World Cup.”

On being asked whether he was surprised about how MI approached the run-chase, he said: “No, we would have done the same. The power play was the easiest period to bat in, so we would have probably approached it with the same mindset or try and get as many runs as possible.”

Sangakkara signed off by saying, “We probably didn’t bowl as well as we should have, but also when you are chasing a low total, once you get that power-play going, the rest is just easy.”