Twitter Reactions: Sanju Samson's ton goes in vain as Punjab Kings clinch a thriller at Wankhede

Twitter Reactions: Sanju Samson’s ton goes in vain as Punjab Kings clinch a thriller at Wankhede

Meredith’s 8-run penultimate over brought the equation down 13 needed off the last over, which distilled down to 5 needed off the last ball

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

They did it in Sharjah but it ended with a heartbreak at the Wankhede Stadium as Sanju Samson’s century went in vain. Chasing a mammoth 222, the newly-appointed skipper kept the fight on until the last delivery but just could not make it.

Having called rightly in a game of debuts, he inserted KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings to bat. The Kings included three debutants in Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, and Riley Meredith as opposed to two from Rajasthan: Chetan Sakaraiya and Manan Vohra.

Given their IPL 2020 performance, the Kings stuck with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal as openers, although Sakariya struck in the second over of his spell as the latter nicked him behind. At three, Chris Gayle took a while before smacking Mustafizur Rahman and Chris Morris for boundaries in consecutive overs.

46 at the loss of Agarwal’s wicket at the end of the powerplay, Rajasthan gave life to both Rahul and Gayle as Stokes failed to hold onto a tough chance off Gopal, while Rahul Tewatia dropped Gayle off his bowling a couple of overs later.

The duo infused momentum in the partnership, slamming boundaries regularly in overs 6-9, although Gayle holed out to long-on, off Riyan Parag, just when the 67-run partnership had begun to look threatening. Little did Rajasthan know about the carnage that awaited!

KLassy Rahul and Hooda’s Hurricane muscle PBKS to a mammoth total

Despite Gayle’s exit, Punjab never took its foot off the accelerator. Riding on his luck, KL Rahul brought up his half-century through a maximum off Shivam Dube in the 13th over, the same over where Deepak Hooda – promoted ahead of Nicholas Pooran – went berserk. Hitting sixes for fun, he belted two against Dube and followed by three off Gopal in the next as Punjab made skyscrapers in the over-graphs.

Hooda raced off to his half-century in merely 20 balls, adding 105 off 47 for the third wicket alongside Rahul as he did not spare even the league’s most expensive buy, Chris Morris. Although, while trying to send Morris over long-on in the 17th, he picked Riyan Parag instead to bring his ruthless assault to an end. Two deliveries later, Morris got Pooran for a golden duck courtesy of a sensational catch from Sakariya, who dived full length towards his left at short fine leg to grab a ball that was travelling fast.

Appearing set for a century in his team’s opening game, Rahul perished nine short of it as Rahul Tewatia redeemed himself after dropping Gayle earlier. Rahul had pummeled a full-length ball from Sakariya towards deep midwicket in the ultimate over, however, Tewatia held his nerves and showed a brilliant presence of mind as he threw the ball into play, came inside the boundary rope, and completed a stunning rebound catch.

Centurion Samson stands tall

It seemed that Rajasthan would lose the plot when Mohammed Shami removed Ben Stokes for a three-ball duck, grabbing a top-edged skier for which three men, including him, ran for. However, Sanju Samson walked in with different ideas.

The game was defined by either sloppy drops or sensational takes. Manan Vohra got a reprieve when Murugan Ashwin juggled a chance in the deep off Jhye Richardson, although Vohra failed to capitalize as Arshdeep Singh took a sensational reflex catch to remove him in the third over. Rajasthan got a tectonic shift in momentum as Samson picked a four off Arshdeep before Jos Buttler, the new man, slammed Richardson for four fours on the trot.

Buttler and Samson’s partnership flourished but was cut five short of 50 by Richardson, who cleaned up the former for a 13-ball 25. In the meanwhile, Samson, who, too, was given life at 12 by Rahul, continued in a flawless rhythm and brought up his half-century from 33 balls. Making his RR debut, Shivam Dube got a start and contributed 23 from 15 in the 53-run stand with the skipper, before he picked Hooda at long-off off Arshdeep.

So close, yet so far for Rajasthan

Samson thwacked the pedal hard after Dube’s exit, and he was well-assisted by Riyan Parag, as they added another 52 off just 23 for the fifth wicket. The skipper slammed Richardson for a four and six off consecutive deliveries before the duo smoked M Ashwin for three sixes in the 20-run 16th over. Shami’s bouncer took Parag’s edge before going to Rahul behind, although a 4, 6, 4 from Samson in the 18th over, when he became the first skipper to score a ton on captaincy debut, from Richardson made up for it.

Meredith’s 8-run penultimate over, where he got Tewatia caught behind, brought the equation down 13 needed off the last over, which distilled down to 5 needed off the last ball. A heartbreak awaited Samson, who refused a single on the penultimate ball, as Deepak Hooda snaffled him to seal a 4-run win for Punjab.

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