Wins don’t just happen: Rajasthan Royals coach Kumar Sangakkara credits data and dedication behind RR success

Rajasthan Royals defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Qualifier 2 of the Indian Premier League to enter the final of the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League on Friday, 27 May.

The Royals rode on an incredible century from Jos Buttler to chase the modest target of 158 runs with 11 balls remaining on what was touted to be a tricky pitch by the commentators at the beginning of the game. This would be Royals’ second final after the 2008 trophy campaign in the inaugural season under the leadership of Late Shane Warne.

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Speaking after the game RR head coach Kumar Sangakkara called the win very satisfying and gave full credit to Jos Buttler for his exceptional batting ability. Buttler has already notched up four centuries in the current edition of the league and has equalled Virat Kohli’s record for the most number of tons in a single season. He can potentially go one better if he can repeat his performance in the final game against Gujarat Titans. The Englishman had come eerily close to a century in the first qualifier as well, scoring 89 runs off 56 balls.

“Jos Buttler backs his strengths and manoeuvres the bowling to bowl more and more to his strengths. The great thing is he can accelerate anytime. Overall, he is a wonderful guy who thinks deeply about his game and himself,” Sangakkara said.

Calling the win very satisfying, the legendary Sri Lankan said that it took a lot of dedication to reach the finals of the Indian Premier League. He credited Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy in particular, stating that they have battled a lot in the recent days of the IPL campaign.

“All the planning, all the hard work. Really tough with the close defeat to Gujarat Titans but the guys got back up and came back strongly. The entire bowling unit was outstanding. Special mention to Prasidh. We had 16 to defend in the last game, and three sixes by Miller. It can cause a huge dent in the confidence. But he was honest, he was great in the nets. Then Trent Boult. And Obed McCoy, his mother, has been quite ill back home, but he has been able to put that aside. She is recovering well,” Sangakkara said.

The head coach spoke about the process that they have followed this season and said that a lot of work went into data to figure out a process that worked for them.

“At the auction table, we spent 90-95% of our purse on putting together our first XI. We worked hard on data to work on the players we wanted. We put emphasis on experience at the moment. We have a spattering of youngsters who will become stars later, but our first XI has a strong share of seasoned internationals. Full credit to Giles Lindsay, our analyst, Zubin Barucha and the rest of the staff. Wins don’t just happen. It takes a lot of planning, hard work, and execution on the field.”

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