Kumar Sangakkara emphasised there were plenty of positives despite Rajasthan Royals’ loss to Gujarat Titans in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.

After four straight wins, the Royals lost their first match of IPL 2024 against the Titans by three wickets. The match, however, went down to the last ball.

Batting first, Riyan Parag and skipper Sanju Samson scored quickfire fifties to build the Royals’ innings. Kuldeep Sen struck thrice for the Royals in the chase but the Titans snuck a win off the last ball.

“First of all, we batted really well, it was a tough period to start with,” Royals’ Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara summed up. “And I thought the way Riyan (Parag) and Sanju (Samson) rebuilt our innings and Hetti (Shimron Hetmyer) with his cameo was outstanding.”

A total of 107 runs came off the last eight overs, including 34 off the last two, as the Royals registered 196/3, their highest total of the season. RR’s highest score in the IPL is 226/3, which came against Kings XI Punjab in 2020.

“(Yashasvi) Jaiswal looked in really great form as well. I think we were right there, Kuldeep Sen coming back, bowled three brilliant overs. So those are positives,” Sangakkara added.

Gujarat Titans were 63/0 at the end of eight overs when Sen was introduced into the bowling attack. He provided the breakthrough in just his second ball, trapping Sai Sudharsan leg before. 

In his next over, Sen sent back Matthew Wade and Abhinav Manohar to reduce GT to 83/3. His spell meant Trent Boult was restricted to only two overs on the night.

“We just lost it towards the back end. We probably did not use the pitch as well as we should have. But that’s the way the game goes. I thought they played really well, stayed in the game and took advantage of a few mistakes that we made,” said the former Sri Lankan player.

“The point is that we were in the game almost till the last two overs and they played out of their skins to win it from us. For us it is about learning from our mistakes,” Sangakkara pointed out.

“You can think about ‘you could have done this, you could have done that.’ We need to understand that T20 cricket is like this, ebbs and flows and we have to be ready to take that.”

Still leading the IPL 2024 points table, the Rajasthan Royals will play Punjab Kings in their next game at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh International Cricket Stadium in Mullanpur on April 13.