We were short of options against spin, says Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson fell for 10. Photo: PTI/R Senthil Kumar

Chennai: Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson feels they were short of options in the middle overs which was the reason they lost the IPL 2024 Qualifier 2 to Sunrisers Hyderabad by 36 runs at M A Chidambaram Stadium here on Friday.

SRH clinched a spot in the final, outplaying RR on a pitch that increasingly favoured the spinners in the second innings. Royals, chasing a target of 176, fell short, managing only 139/7. The loss had a lot to do with their struggles against SRH's left-arm spinners on a dry pitch that offered more turn as the game progressed.

Sanju acknowledged the challenge posed by the pitch and the clever bowling by SRH spinners. "I think we were found short of options in the middle overs against spin, and I think that's where we lost the game," he said after 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 use of the crease a bit more - and they (SRH) also bowled really well, actually.

"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."

The statistics supported Sanju's assessment. The Chepauk pitch, which offered an average turn of 1.8 degrees in the first innings, became significantly more spin-friendly in the second innings, with an average turn of 3.3 degrees.

SRH strategically left out their main spinners, opting instead for Shahbaz Ahmed, who was introduced as an Impact Player, and Abhishek Sharma. The duo delivered eight overs, taking five wickets for just 47 runs. Even Aiden Markram's single over yielded sharp turn, underlining the changing nature of the pitch.

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