Rajasthan Royals (RR) skipper Steve Smith said that message to Sanju Samson has been to just keep the faith, trust his ability and watch the ball closely, when asked about Samson’s lack of runs in the last few games.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Smith said that when things are not going your way, the player can get dismissals like that (referring to Samson’s wicket as he was strangled down the leg side), but they know he is a great ball-striker and will get runs for his side at some point in the next few games.
After scoring 74 and 85 runs in the first two matches, Samson’s form has tapered off as he has scored just 77 runs in the last 8 games.
After losing three early wickets again in the powerplay, Jos Buttler and Smith did the rebuilding job and got their team home pretty comfortably in the end. Asked about planning the chase after those early blows, Smith said that since they were chasing only 126 so they didn’t have to take any big risks and he could play his game as Buttler at the other end scored quickly and didn’t let any pressure creep up.
Bowling first, Royals restricted Chennai Super Kings to 125, with their leg-spinners Rahul Tewatia (1/18) and Shreyas Gopal (1/14) strangling the CSK middle-order. Asked about their performance, Smith said, “They bowled beautifully in the middle, they just squeezed, bowled really good lengths, changed it up with their googlies and leg spinners and were just magnificent. The areas they bowled, they didn’t let their batters off at all.”
Since the last game, Buttler has been slotted in at No 5 in the RR batting line-up and they reaped the rewards almost immediately with Buttler scoring 70* (48). Smith said that destructive players like AB de Villiers, Kieron Pollard in the middle-order win you games and it’s a difficult one for them as Buttler is great at the top as well in the shortest format. But he was thankful that they have a player like Buttler in their team, whose versatility is helping the team’s cause and can bat anywhere in the order.
Royals have now 8 points from 10 games and now have to win possibly every game to have a chance at qualification for the top 4. Smith said that after losing a couple of close games, it was nice for them to win comfortably and get those two points. He added that they don’t want to be in a situation where they would have to rely on other results, instead want to keep winning the games and do as much from their end as they can.
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