'No one was up for the fight': Shane Watson surprised with RR losing momentum ahead of IPL 2024 playoffs

New Delhi, May 16 Following Rajasthan Royals' (RR) fourth consecutive defeat, a five-wicket loss to Punjab Kings (PBKS) in IPL 2024, former Australian captain Shane Watson expressed surprise at the team's late-season slump in momentum ahead of the playoffs, especially after their scintillating start to the campaign.

RR had a glittering start with four consecutive wins and continued their impressive run with eight wins in nine games and remained in the top four throughout the season. But, their performance in the next four games took a nose dive as they registered their fourth loss on the trot on Wednesday.

Rajasthan opted to bat first and failed to overcome their batting struggle as PBKS’ excellent bowling effort restricted them to a score of 144/9. In response, Punjab chased down the target with seven balls to spare, picking up their fifth win of the IPL 2024.

However, despite suffering defeats in the last four consecutive games, RR remain in second place in the points table with 16 points in 13 games and is already qualified for the playoffs alongside Kolkata Knight Riders.

"I have been very surprised with how the Rajasthan Royals have taken off. They were flying high with no weaknesses in their team. They were able to just mix and match when they really needed to. They have certainly lost momentum and tonight, it seemed no one was up for the fight. Sanju Samson is the captain, he's willing everyone to be up for the fight. Avesh Khan, Riyan Parag did a job, but outside of them, everyone looked flat. This is not the time to be flat.

"They need to get a few good performances under them and build their confidence to hit the playoffs flying. They are going in the other direction. For the Rajasthan Royals fans and players, that's not what they want, Watson said on JioCinema.

Meanwhile, former New Zealand men's head coach Mike Hesson remarked on RR's recent performance, noting, "Every year for the last three years, RR have reached this point and suddenly, they have gotten quite funky."

"It has happened every year. Every year when we are seven or eight games through, we are like, 'RR are the team to beat!'. They lose one, have a bit of a confidence drop, lose a couple, then they start to look over their shoulder and overthink things. I think that's the issue at the moment. They just need to go back to the basics and go back to everyone doing their job and standing up," said Hesson.

Skipper Sam Curran was the star of the night for PBKS, excelling in pretty much all three departments on the field. He played a captain's knock of 63 off 41 before picking up bowling figures of 2-24.

Former India wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel reflected on Curran's performance and said, "This was a season to forget, but he batted well today. He played a great innings, took responsibility, and played 41 balls. He took his time at the start and whenever it seemed like he was getting stuck, he pulled out some big shots.

"He's experienced under pressure as an international cricketer, that is what we saw today. When Punjab needed him the most, he won them the match."

Source: IANS
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