Sanju Samson’s breathtaking strokeplay formed the cornerstone of Rajasthan Royals’ 19-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring IPL encounter in Mohali on Sunday.
Riding on Samson’s 45-ball-92, Rajasthan Royals posted a competitive 217/4 on a batting belter and then managed to restrict the home team to 198/6, earning their second victory in three games.
RCB, on the other hand, slumped to their second defeat in three games despite skipper Virat Kohli’s (57 off 30 balls) first half-century of this edition.
It was ‘local boy ‘ Shreyas Gopal who removed a rampaging Kohli in the 11th over to turn the match decisively in his team’s favour. Kohli’s pull shot was taken at deep mid-wicket by Darcy Short, who timed his jump to perfection.
Leg-spinner Gopal, who plays Ranji Trophy for Karnataka, then silenced his ‘home crowd’ knocking out AB de Villiers, whose poorly executed pull-shot was snapped by Jaydev Unadkat at deep square leg.
Washington Sundar (35 off 19 balls) and Mandeep Singh (47* off 25 balls) added 66 runs for the fifth wicket but they were left with an uphill task as the asking rate kept on mounting.
Put into bat, Samson sent the bowlers on a leatherhunt hitting as many as 10 sixes and two fours.
The Kerala batsman scored his half-century off 34 balls, showing one and all why he is so highly rated by India A coach Rahul Dravid.
Nightmare for bowlers
In Jos Buttler (21 off 14), Samson found an able partner as they put on 73 runs in just 37 balls.
Umesh Yadav after his ‘man of the match’ effort against KXIP was completely off colour going for 59 runs in 4 wicketless overs. The last three overs yielded 60 runs for the Royals.
Samson first got 16 runs off Kulwant Khejroliya, who bowled the 18th over and then hammered Woakes for 17 off the penultimate over by smashing a six and two consecutive fours.
He saved his best for the last plundering Umesh for 27 runs that hit three sixes and a boundary. Only Yuzvendra Chahal had respectable figures of 2 for 22 in 4 overs.
Earlier, Rajasthan began their innings with a flurry of boundaries hit by skipper Ajinkya Rahane (36 off 20 balls).
He then clobbered 14 runs of off-spinner Washington Sundar by hitting a boundary and a six. In next over, he belted two more boundaries of Yadav, taking the score to 33 for no loss.
Woakes however had the last laugh by getting Rahane, whose miscued hit landed straight into the hands of Yadav after he had struck six boundaries and a six.
Soon Darcy Short top-edged which landed safe into the hands of wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock after he had made 11 runs of 17 balls with one boundary, leaving the score at 53 for two in 6.5 overs.
Samson and Ben Stokes put on 49 runs partnership for fourth wicket in 33 balls, before the England batsman was out scoring 27 off 21 balls with two boundaries and a six.