Samson’s royal assault singes Challengers

Rajasthan post 19-run victory

If Sanju Samson’s blinder of an innings pulverised Royal Challengers Bangalore’s attack, local boy Shreyas Gopal’s twin wickets of skipper Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers dealt body blow to their chase as Rajasthan Royals emerged  winners in their IPL 11 match here on Sunday.

Put into bat, Royals were powered to a mammoth 217 for four in 20 overs thanks to Samson’s blazing unbeaten 92 off just 45 balls that was embellished with 10 sixes and two fours here at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. RCB needed a strong start but Brendon McCullum failed once again falling in the first over. Kohli (57, 30b, 7x4, 2x6) and Quinton de Kock (26, 19b, 4x4) then raised hopes of a heist adding 77 runs in just 44 balls.

With de Villiers and Kohli in the middle, there were high expectations but their dismissals in successive overs off leg-spinning all-rounder Shreyas severely dented their hopes. Having gone with Pawan Negi, who is more a bowler than batsman and who bowled just one over, in place of Sarfaraz Khan, RCB also felt the absence of a specialist batsman in this high chase. RCB eventually finished at 198/6 in 20 overs to go down by 19 runs, their second defeat in three matches this season.

Interestingly, at the end of 15 overs, RCB were ahead compared to Royals. While RCB were 134/5, Royals were 129/3. But then they had Samson who ensured Royals plundered 88 runs in the last whereas RCB had lost all their main batsmen. Washington Sundar (35, 19b, 1x4, 3x6) and Mandeep Singh (47 n.o., 25b, 6x4, 1x6) kept the crowd excited with a 28-ball 56-run stand but that was too little and too late in the day.   

There were predictions for scattered thunderstorm in the afternoon, but it instead it was Samson who rained sixes. The right-hander came out to bat in the sixth over and unleashed one of the spectacular assaults ever seen in IPL.

Quite contrary to how it behaved in the first match on Friday, the Chinnaswamy pitch had runs written all over it. Royals’ innings was off to a breezy start as the visitors rattled 52/1 in the six overs of Powerplay. It was a platform to build on in perfect batting conditions and the visitors did just that, stitching three good partnerships. Samson was involved in all these stands as he made RCB bowlers pay for their erratic ways.

While the pitch was admittedly batsman-friendly, the home bowlers made things more difficult for themselves bowling too full and conceding too many extras. While they bowled six wides to bowl an extra over, Umesh Yadav’s two no-balls cost them two sixes. All the pacemen – Woakes (47/2), Umesh (59/0) and Kulwant Khejroliya (40/0 in three overs) – were so off the mark on the day that even the good work of spinners couldn’t offset the damage.

Nothing, however, should take anything away from Samson’s lightning innings. The ease and the authority with which he cleared the ropes was a sight to behold. While another capacity crowd remained largely partisan, they slowly warmed up to 23-year-old’s uninhibited display of batting. He dealt only in sixes and it wasn’t until he had struck eight sixes that he essayed his first four. His blistering knock ensured that Royals made most of last five overs, that was difference between RCB losing and Royals winning



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