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Sangakkara salutes Samson, Buttler as Royals make IPL final

Source: PTI
May 28, 2022 12:23 IST
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'Wicketkeeping, captaining and being the best batter in your side along with Jos Buttler is not an easy kind of role to fill, but Sanju Samson has done it really well this season.'

Rajasthan Royals' Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler celebrate a six against Royal Challengers Bangalore during Qualifier 2 of IPL 2022, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, on Friday.

IMAGE: Rajasthan Royals' Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler celebrate a six against Royal Challengers Bangalore during Qualifier 2 of IPL 2022, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad, on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

Rajasthan Royals Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara hailed Sanju Samson's contribution after the team sealed a berth in the final of IPL 2022, saying the Kerala man has performed the triple roles of wicketkeeping, captaincy and batting with aplomb.

 

Rajasthan Royals easily beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by seven wickets in Qualifier 2 on Friday to reach their first IPL final since the inaugural edition in 2008 and have a shot at a second title.

"Sanju has been exceptional. He started off with quite a tough test last season with a young side and lot of upheaval because of COVID bubbles, tournament of two halves, but he has really grown into his role," said Sangakkara, at the post-match press conference.

"He is very soft-spoken, very reserved individual. He is exceptionally skilled with the bat. He has shown a lot of passion and hunger to taking on this testing role of captaincy. Wicketkeeping, captaining and being the best batter in your side along with Jos Buttler is not an easy kind of role to fill, but he has done it really well this season," he added.

The legendary Sri Lankan feels Samson has grown in maturity.

"He has become more and more aware of what his role is. His tactical awareness has improved right throughout. He has really trusted his team. The team really looks up to him as a leader."

Englishman Jos Buttler has been phenomenal with the bat for the Royals and is the leading scorer in the tournament with 824 runs from 16 games, with four centuries and as many fifties.

Sangakkara says he has never seen anyone bat with such authority in the history of the IPL as Buttler did in the ongoing season.

"It's hard to describe what he (Buttler) has done for us this season in terms of T20 batting. He started off well, he had a little bit of a flutter at one point in the tournament but then he just calmed himself down, had a lot of good conversations rather than just training," he said.

"He accepted that he is mortal, he is a human and can't be at that high level of excellence every single day. He can accelerate at any point, he has got all the strokes. He understands the game really well. I can't remember anyone batting this well in the history of the IPL."

Sangakkara said having a core group of nine players made his job easy.

"That's an advantage of having an experienced side. We have a core group of nine players with exceptional experience and skill and around them we have young guys and some very senior players in the bench. What I have to do as a coach is very little. It is just about being responsible of what has happened, owning it as a unit.”

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Director of Cricket Mike Hesson said not being able to accelerate in the last five overs cost them dearly.

"123 for 3 with five overs to go, we were very much in a position to get 175-180 with (Glenn) Maxwell set along with (Rajat) Patidar. We obviously lost those two wickets and then in the last three overs Obed McCoy and (Prasidh) Krishna bowled nicely. We struggled to get any momentum. We were probably 20 short," he said.

"Our death run score throughout the season has been exceptional; it's probably the top end where we didn't get the momentum. Other than today we pretty much nailed the last five overs in most innings."

By his own standard Virat Kohli has endured a forgettable IPL, scoring just 341 runs in 16 innings, averaging 22.73, but Hesson said the former RCB skipper got better as the tournament progressed.

Hesson also backed Mohammed Siraj, who took just nine wickets in 15 games, to comeback strongly.

"Siraj is a fine bowler. He didn't have the best tournament but he will come back strong. Maxwell had a good all-round season with bat and ball. Virat got better and better as the season went on. He looked in good touch in the last 4-5 innings."

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