The Lucknow Super Giants joined Rajasthan Royals at the top of the Indian Premier League points table after beating the Jaipur-team by 10 runs on Wednesday.

The Royals, playing for the first time in four years at their home ground in Jaipur, faltered in their chase of 155 on a difficult pitch. The two teams are tied on eight points with the Royals in first place due to a better net run rate.

Openers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler began the chase well putting up 87 runs for the first wicket in 11 overs. Needing 68 runs to win in nine overs, the Royals lost Jaiswal, Buttler, captain Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer for just 17 runs in four overs.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Royals head coach Kumar Sangakkara said, “The openers put on a very good stand. We were needing eight once the 12th over was finished with 10 wickets in hand, that’s not very difficult on a big ground. Unfortunately, we lost three wickets in three overs. The run out of Sanju and then Jos got out as well and we still should have got over the line. We had enough batting in the shed. Unfortunately, we left a little bit too late to attack their bowling and we needed too many boundaries at the end.

“I think we got a better powerplay than they did. They were 37 for none and we were 46 and that was enough with the rate that we were chasing. It was a difficult wicket to bat on as the ball got older but they also bowled very well. It was just a case of getting out of the powerplay really well and then targeting one or two overs to really get the rate down to manageable levels. Unfortunately, every time we tried to do that, we lost a wicket and then at the back-end, especially Bishnoi’s last over, we were not committed enough to take him down for three-four sixes. Even if the batter got out that time it didn’t matter. It was a tough pitch. Lucknow bowled really smartly but at the same time we should have got over the line,” the former Sri Lanka captain said.

The Royals needed 51 runs in the last five overs with Devdutt Padikkal and Riyan Parag in the middle. The pair added 37 runs in 26 balls but many criticised their strike rates as Royals struggled in the death overs. Parag hasn’t been able to get into form and has scored only 54 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 112.50.

Sangakkara defended Parag and said, “In that situation, he is there to go out and hit as many sixes as quickly as he can. It’s a very clear plan that Riyan has. We had Dhruv to kind of take care of the place and we just needed two-three sixes in the middle overs. He’s been batting well in the nets. We do back our players quite well especially when he comes in as an impact sub for us or DDP comes in as an impact substitute. Looking at the local talent that we have. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been in good form, we will assess that and address them at the training and see where we get to in the next few games.”

Table toppers Royals will next travel to Bengaluru on Sunday to face the Royal Challengers Bangalore while LSG will host defending champions Gujarat Titans on Saturday.