We Haven’t Been Smart Enough With Our Batting And We Know It: Sangakkara

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - We haven't been smart enough with our batting and we know it: Sangakkara. RR were on 100 for 1 after 11 overs but could only manage 49 for 8 in the remaining 9 overs

We Haven’t Been Smart Enough With Our Batting And We Know It: SangakkaraRR were on 100 for 1 after 11 overs but could only manage 49 for 8 in the remaining 9 overs

Third time wasn't lucky for Rajasthan Royals who remain glued at No.7 after a seven-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday (September 29). They've squandered three opportunities now to break into the top-half of the table with three losses on the trot, rendering their last three games must-win.

Against RCB, it wasn't the case of Sanju Samson carrying the weight of his team. They got a brilliant start from the openers Evin Lewis and Yashasvi Jaiswal who added 77 for the opening wicket. Lewis propelled the innings forward with a half-century and RR were on 100 for 1 after 11 overs. However, they could only manage 49 for 8 in the remaining 9 overs to post 149 for 9. The quartet of Mahipal Lomror, Liam Livingstone, Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag had scores of 3, 6, 2 and 9 respectively in another forgettable outing for the middle order.

Lewis and Jaiswal provided RR the perfect platform to get a total in excess of 180, which at one stage seemed inevitable. Lewis targeted the shorter boundary and got some hits in the region, taking on the role of the aggressor, with Jaiswal finding his groove. He played the ball late and made room for himself, while Lewis punished anything that was short and with width racing away to his fifty off just 31 balls. They loved pace on the ball early on and raced away to 56 for 0 after the powerplay.

“In the first-half of the tournament in India we were struggling in the powerplays and the middle and late-middle order was getting us back into the games. In the second phase we've gone the opposite way,” said Kumar Sangakkara, RR's director of cricket. “We're winning the powerplays quite comfortably, except in the Delhi game, in the sense we're getting the runs that we need. And then we're not really understanding how to manage the middle and the death. When we get the platform like we did today 100 runs for 1 after 11 overs, how to kick on from there, get to 180-185 we need to figure.

“The bowling has managed to keep us in the tournament. Even today the attitude they showed under pressure was really very good. But we need to find ways to improve how to finish innings with the bat and how we manage the powerplay and the fielding.”

RR's star all-rounder, Chris Morris, who the franchise roped in at the auction for a whopping 16.5 cr has had an underwhelming season. Nor has he been among the runs, nor among the wickets significantly to validate his price tag. Against RCB, he conceded 50 runs off 4 overs, with Glenn Maxwell in particular scoring 24 runs in 9 balls against him.

“Morris has done brilliantly in the first-half and he hasn't done as well as he or we would've liked him to in the second-half,” said Sangakkara. “He knows it and we know it. 50 runs off 4 overs… the last over to me was a throw of the dice to try and get a wicket here or there. We were well out of the game at that point. But he's done well for us in certain parts.”

RR now have just three games to play and their task has gotten tougher. If they are to gain those vital six points to finish with 14, they'll need to beat table-toppers Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. Sangakkara believes it's about keeping things simple and being able to execute their plans if they are to stand a chance to do so.

“We always keep things simple. There's a lot of pressure on players that they put on themselves; in the game itself there's a lot of it. My job is not to add to that but help them deal with it and come up with their best performances. There's many ways in which you manage the highs of wins and disappointments of a loss and be able to keep yourself calm and focus on what needs to be done. At times like this, it's very easy to be dejected and break up into little groups where murmurings can start but our group has held together really well.

“We don't play the blame game in our franchise. We win together, we lose together. We take the same attitude into training and games. We haven't done well enough, haven't been smart enough with our batting and we all know that. The players know that. So we'll try to keep things simple, focus on training and how we plan to execute what we've spoken about. We haven't been able to tie a full game together yet. We've been good with our batting at times, good with bowling, but haven't been able to put up a cohesive performance. That's what we're searching for.”

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