After losing their last league match and bowing out of IPL 2021 in Sharjah on Thursday, Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain Sanju Samson said he was proud of his boys who showed character throughout the tournament. Chasing a 172-run target against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), RR were bundled out for 85.
KKR openers Shubman Gill (56 off 44) and Venkatesh Iyer (38 off 35) laid the foundations, whereas, Shivam Mavi (4/21) and Lockie Ferguson (3/18) capitalised on it as the 2-time champions defeated Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 86 runs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
The end of match in KKR's favour also marked the end of RR's journey in the IPL 2021. The 2008 champions could manage only five wins from their 14 league matches. However, team's young captain Sanju Samson looked content in the post-match presentation ceremony and said that he was proud of his players who showed character in the 14th edition of the cash-rich league.
Reflecting on the side's perfromance in their last league match, Samson admitted that 172 was an achievable target despite the ball staying low with the new ball. Notably, Royals were reduced to 13 for the loss of 4 wickets. In fact, as many as 7 wickets fell with team's scorecard reading 35 for 7 in 9 overs.
"I think to be very honest it was a better wicket. It was staying a little low with the new ball but it was a better wicket. 171 was chaseable on this wicket. I think we wanted to get a good start. We needed a powerful powerplay. We wanted to execute whatever we planned but we didn't execute. I think if you look at the whole season, we have gone through many challenges. We showed character though and am proud of the boys. We won some close games and lost some easy ones. We need to play a better standard of cricket to win more games in this tournament. Everyone came up with positive vibes, People were ready to go out there and win games for us," he said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
On personal front, the wicketkeeper-batsman ended his campaign with 484 runs from 14 matches at an average of 40.33 and strike rate of 136.72. The 26-year-old is currently the fifth highest run-scorer in the ongoing season. According to Samson, he has changed his outlook post taking over the Royals captaincy.
"Being the skipper, I changed the way I look at my innings. It was always about thinking about the match situations. I would have loved to win more games despite scoring a lot of runs," Samson added.
Delhi Capitals (DC), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have qualified for the playoffs. KKR, with the win have put them as favourites to become the fourth and the last team to qualify for the playoffs, however, a final picture will only after the conclusion of Mumbai Indians' (MI) match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Friday. MI need to win the match by 171 runs to deny KKR a playoff berth.