Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain Sanju Samson scored a fantastic century on his captaincy debut against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the 4th match of the IPL 2021, but it all went in vain as his side lost a close match by 4 runs.
It was an innings that will go down in IPL history as one of the best and could have been the best by a captain in IPL if only Sanju Samson had managed to hit the last ball for a six when 5 runs were needed off the last ball. Sanju Samson ended up on 119 in 63 balls with 12 fours and 7 sixes with a strike rate of 188.89. He and Riyan Parag (25 in 11 balls) added 50 runs in just over 3 overs to give PBKS a heart attack and get RR back into the game.
Samson came out to bat fairly early as Ben Stokes fell on the second ball of RR’s chase in the first over and continued to carry his team’s hopes right up until the last ball. However, the fact that the next best score by a RR batsman was 25, made by Jos Buttler and Parag meant that he didn’t get enough support to pull off a miracle.
I Don’t Have Words To Tell, Very Close Game: Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson might have thought to himself what a start to his captaincy career in IPL as Punjab slammed 221/9 after being asked to bat first after Samson won the toss. KL Rahul slammed 91 with 5 sixes and 7 fours, but the knock of their innings came from Deepak Hooda, who made 64 in 28 balls with 6 sixes and 4 fours. Chris Gayle also made merry as he made 40 in 28 balls.
But it was Samson who left behind Rahul in the battle of keeper-captains at the Wankhede with his brilliant display of effortless batting and smooth sixes, but alas, he couldn’t finish the match in the end.
“I don’t have words to tell, very close game, came close but unfortunately.. I don’t think I could have done anything more, timed it well, but unfortunately couldn’t clear the man in the deep. It’s all part of the game (when asked about the bowlers going for plenty from both sides), we thought the wicket was getting better and we could chase the target down. Despite the loss, I think the team played really well,” Samson said in the post-innings interview.
I Think The Second Part Of The Innings Was The Best I Ever Played: Sanju Samson
The new RR captain Sanju Samson was rightly adjudged as the Man of the Match for his amazing century, which is his third hundred in the IPL tournament and the second-highest score in a defeat in IPL and joint second-highest score batting second in IPL with Virender Sehwag’s 119 in 2011.
“I think the second part of the innings was the best I ever played, took my time and respected the bowlers, whereas in the first part I was not timing it very well. I took the singles and got into a rhythm and then I started to play my shots in the second half. I enjoy my shots but I come back to the present after I play those shots. It automatically happens, when I focus on my skills and watch the ball and react.
Sometimes I lose my wicket also, so I just play the same way. It’s about trusting my processes to be honest, and I did that, and it came off tonight. The coin looked really nice so I pocketed it, asked the referee if I can have it, but he said no,” Samson said after receiving the Man of the Match award.
Rajasthan Royals will now play Delhi Capitals in Mumbai on April 15, while Punjab Kings will face Chennai Super Kings the next night on April 16.