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Intense pressure was bogging Buttler down but Sangakkara said something special to him

Ahmedabad, May 28 Rajasthan Royals’ charismatic batter Jos Buttler has revealed that intense pressure midway through the IPL 2022 season was weighing heavily on his mind but head coach Kumar Sangakkara’s encouraging words to “give yourselves a chance to find a way” helped him overcome the form slump.

Opener Buttler was the architect of the facile win against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2 at the Narendra Modi Stadium here, as the England cricketer smashed a superb 60-ball unbeaten century (106 not out) at a strike rate touching 177 to guide Rajasthan to the IPL 2022 final against Gujarat Titans.

The 32-year-old opener has so far amassed a massive 824 runs in 16 games, scoring four centuries and an equal number of half-centuries, and has been the Royals’ guiding force as they aim to clinch their second IPL title after the side won in the inaugural season in 2008 under legendary spinner Shane Warne.

This is only the second time in the history of the IPL that the Royals have entered the final.

Buttler, who was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’ said that the pep talk from Sangakkara helped as he went to Kolkata (for Qualifier 1) with a “freer mind”.

“I came to the season with very low expectations but a lot of energy. It is very exciting to stand in the final. I had a season of two halves and had very honest conversations with people really close to me. I was feeling the pressure midway, and it was only about a week ago that I opened up about it.

“It helped me and I went to Kolkata with a freer mind. Sometimes it is not working for me, and there are times when a younger me would have played a shot and come out. But it’s something that Sanga (Sangakkara) has been saying that the longer you stay, you give yourselves a chance to find a way.”

Buttler paid tribute to the late Warne, saying that the Australian legend has been an “influential figure” for the side.

“Great excitement to have the opportunity to play in the final of the biggest tournament in T20 cricket. Shane Warne has been such an influential figure for RR. We will miss him dearly,” added Buttler.

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