Another IPL match, another last-over thriller. Rajasthan Royals scrape through after Sanju Samson smashes one of the most brilliant innings in the history of IPL.
Arshdeep Singh, the young lanky lad from Punjab held his nerve to dismiss Samson in the last ball of the innings when the Royals needed 5 off the last ball of the innings.
Rajasthan Royals Captain Sanju Samson started VIVO IPL 2021 in the same fashion as he did last year. Registering the tournament’s first century, he showed why he is one of the most underrated Indian batsmen in the world.
When Sanju Samson won the toss and put Punjab Kings into bat, he did not know that a Ben Stokes error would lead KL Rahul into scoring a blitzkrieg 91 off 50 balls. Together with Deepak Hooda, the pair put on a century partnership in just 45 balls.
Hooda came out all guns blazing, taking Shreyas Gopal to the cleaners. Hammering him for three sixes to different parts of the world. After smashing 6 sixes and 4 fours, Hooda departed after scoring 64 off 28 balls.
Earlier in the Punjab Kings innings, Universe Boss, Chris Gayle got ging but barely. He struck a fluent 40 off 28 balls before holding out to Ben Stokes off a Riyan Parag delivery. Kings XI Punjab kept scoring at all the important junctures of the match and never really allowed the Royals to come into the match.
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Poor fielding, dropped catches and faulty bowling selection by Samson ensured that Punjab Kings coasted to a very healthy 221 for 6 off the full quota of 20 overs. The only silver lining for the Royals was the performance of the young Chetan Sakariya. A net bowler with the RCB till last season, he was drafted by the Royals.
The young left-hand pacer looked comfortable and confident in his abilities. He mixed his pace nicely and landed what was VIVO IPL’s best last over bowling performance. The small lad gave away just five runs and picked up two crucial wickets of KL Rahul and Jhye Richardson.
In response, the Royals got off to the worst start possible. Ben Stokes was too late on a fast and slippery Mohammad Shami delivery and top-edged one. After avoiding a collision with his wicket-keeper captain, Shami completed the catch.
Just like the Royals, Punjab Kings was also guilty of dropping too many catches on the field. From Murugan Ashwin to skipper KL Rahul, it seemed that the entire team was incapable of holding on to catches. After Manan Vohra got out after scoring 12, Sanju Samson steadied the ship. Jos Butler looked promising but was clean bowled by a Jhye Richardson special slow ball yorker.
Samson put together a masterclass after living luckily. Together with Butler, Shivam Dube, and Riyan Parag, he kept the Royals in the game till the end. While wickets kept falling at the other end, Samson continued piling on the runs.
However, it all came down to the last ball when Arshdeep Singh kept his cool and Samson failed to heave one over the boundary and take his team home.