Rajasthan Royals head coach Kumar Sangakkara had words of praise for spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal for their fighting display in the team’s loss to Chennai Super Kings during the Indian Premier League 2024 match on Sunday.

Though the Royals could manage only 141/5 batting first, both Ashwin and Chahal ensured that the CSK did not have a walk in the park during their chase. Both the spinners went for only 57 runs in their eight overs, picking up three crucial wickets. 

Despite ending on the losing side, the Royals’ spin duo made sure that the net run rate didn't take a huge hit as the Super Kings had to wait till the 19th over to finish the game.

“Both of our spinners, Ashwin and Chahal have been brilliant over three years for us, the best two T20 spinners going around in the IPL,” said Sangakkara in the post-match press conference.

Ashwin struck first when he removed Rachin Ravindra as CSK was off to a flying start. The off-spinner came back after getting hit for a six and two fours to dismiss Shivam Dube in the same over, picking up his 50th wicket at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Meanwhile, Chahal got his mojo back after a few tough games, as he bowled a miserly spell of 1/22 which included the wicket of Daryl Mitchell. The leg-spinner had an economy of 5.50 which was the best among all the players who bowled this evening.

“We worked a lot with him (Chahal) in terms of getting his confidence back and to make him understand how good he is when he bowls with a lot of confidence, intent and aggression,” Sangakkara mentioned.

“And the conversation was just to make sure that he keeps turning that ball, believing that he bowled in the right areas and also about the side of the ground that he should be bowling on,” the former Sri Lanka batter continued.

The Royals found it difficult to get going on a tough surface as they could manage only 42 runs in the powerplay. They also played a lot of dot balls to end up with a below-par score of 141. Sangakkara felt that the Royals were 25-30 runs short as it was a 170-180 runs wicket, though it was on the slower side.

“In terms of our batting, we lacked a lot of intent through that middle. Even in that first six overs, we had a few balls that could have been put away,” Sangakkara explained.

“We lost momentum with all those dot balls, we did not have the intent to hit the gaps and run hard.

“It is about making sure that we keep playing to our plans, to our intent and making sure that we always take positive and good options. A lot of things in cricket is just about stepping up and recognising those big moments,” he concluded.