Sanju Samson smashed the first century of the ongoing Indian Premier League and together with skipper Ajinkya Rahane stitched a century stand to guide Rajasthan Royals to a mammoth 198 for two against Sunrisers Hyderabad here Friday.
Samson didn’t spare a single Sunrisers’ bowler and remained unbeaten on 102 that came off just 55 balls with the help of 10 fours and four hits over the fence.
It was Samson’s second IPL ton. His first century in the T20 tournament came in 2017.
Opening the batting after winning the toss, Rahane led from the front with 49-ball 70 and together with Samson shared 119 runs for the second wicket to set the base for the total after the early dismissal of Jos Buttler.
Introduced into the attack in the fourth over, Rashid Khan (1/24) struck with only his second ball, cleaning up dangerman Buttler around his legs.
Rajasthan’s decision to bat first didn’t go according to plan, at least, in the powerplay as the visitors struggled against Sunrisers’ disciplined bowling to garner just 35 runs in the first six overs.
After Buttler’s dismissal, skipper Rahane was joined at the crease by Samson and the duo played cautiously without taking any undue risk to take Rajasthan forward.
While Rahane played the anchor’s role, Samson opened up his arms soon and smashed two sixes in consecutive overs of Shabaz Nadeem and Siddharth Kaul to give some momentum to Rajasthan’s innings.
Rahane soon joined his junior colleague and clobbered Nadeem straight over his head as Rajasthan reached 75 for one at the halfway stage.
After a slow start, Rahane stepped on the accelerator and welcomed Vijay Shankar with six over deep square leg boundary.
Both Rahane and Samson paced their innings to perfection, as after playing cautiously initially, they broke their shackles when needed and notched up the team’s 100 in 11.5 overs.
Rahane registered his first fifty of the ongoing IPL in 38 balls while Samson brought up his half-century in 34 deliveries as the duo raised 100-run stand for the second wicket in 65 balls.
Rahane finally departed in the 16th over bowled by Nadeem, holed out by Manish Pandey at long-on as he went for a big shot. He struck four boundaries and three sixes during his knock.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s torrid time at the death overs continued. If it was Andre Russell in the last match, it was Samson Friday as the young Kerala batsman too the senior pacer to cleaners, hitting him for four boundaries and one six to pick up 24 runs from the 18th over.
As if that was not enough, Bhuvneshwar witnessed yet another forgettable day as he leaked 21 runs in the last over.