Sanju Samson: ‘We are going very fast in the power play, but it didn’t work out today’

Sanju Samson had no answer as to why and how the fortunes of Rajasthan Royals fluctuated in IPL 2023 as they were bowled for 59 – the third lowest total in IPL history – chasing 172 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Jaipur .

Royals’ top three of Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Samson have scored most of the scores in the power play this season, but with them falling within the first two overs the chase never got going. With the Jaipur surface showing signs of slowing down, all three batters were dismissed playing extended strikes, which Samson agreed was due to the nature of the surface.

“In our at bat, the top three scored a lot of runs in recent games. We go very fast in the power play, but today it didn’t work out well,” Samson said to the receiving broadcasters after the game.

“It’s the nature of T20 cricket. You have to go hard against the bowlers in the power play, knowing that the wicket slows down as the ball ages. That’s how Jaiswal, Jos and myself play in the power play, but today it worked not.”

RCB’s 171 always felt a bit above par on a two-speed surface, but Samson felt the score was close to par and with a decent power play the result could have been different.

“I think [the game] could have gone to the wire, I felt that. It could have been a really tight game if we had a decent power play and through the middle if we played really good spin. That was a par score on this wicket,” he said.

Faf du Plessis, on the other hand, said the field in Jaipur was “really difficult” and thought 160 was a really good score here. The fact that RCB managed to score 171 gave the team extra confidence. Anuj Rawat’s 11-ball 29 not out came in handy as they amassed 18 runs from the final left to break the 170 mark.

“It was a very difficult pitch,” du Plessis said. “We hit first and judged the conditions. Even in the beginning of the power play we felt like the ball was staying very low. So we thought 160 would be a good score. The last few hits towards the end pushed us to a really good grade.

“For someone who just gives us the momentum at the back, we haven’t quite managed to do that so well. Today to do that and then you get that feeling in the dugout and you have everyone’s shoulders out , confidence is high.

“It’s also really good for our net run rate. We needed it. Luckily it unfolded the way it did.”

With four wins in their first five games, the Royals started their tournament well. However, since then it has become the worst. They have just two wins in eight matches and a loss by a margin of 112 runs means their net run rate has also taken a huge hit.

With wickets falling at regular intervals, could the batters in the middle have taken a safety approach considering the net run rate?

“You can think about the game in many different ways. People batting there may have thought they still had control of the game. You can’t blame them for how they batted, but we’re going to have to take responsibility as a whole team,” said Samson.

Royals are currently on 12 points with only a game left in hand and their playoff spot hanging by a thread. However, Samson is not giving up hope yet and believes that ‘funny things happen at the end of the competition phase’.

“We all know the nature of IPL, we all know that things can change in a matter of days. You never know how teams form, how things actually happen. So we’re going to have to be strong, we’re going to have the confidence, we’re going to have to do. We have to be professional,” he said.

“We have to take a day off and then think about the game we are playing in Dharamsala and we will have to do our best. We never know. With the run rate and with all the people playing really well, you definitely have to keep your hopes up high.”