Newly appointed Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain Sanju Samson began his journey as a skipper with a fantastic hundred in Match 4 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 against Punjab Kings (PBKS).
Opening the innings in a difficult run-chase of 222 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Samson produced another classy innings of 119 runs off 63 deliveries, including 12 fours and 7 maximums.
Samson has always been a player of prodigious talent and enormous potential, but on Monday (April 12) he also showed his pressure-handling abilities by controlling the chase excellently from an end for RR.
In the end, he was left in angst as he couldn’t take his team past the finish line. But Samson can be mighty pleased with his personal performance on the night as he tackled the extra responsibility with distinction.
A player often facing question marks over his consistency, Samson’s range and resolve as a batter came to the fore in almost singlehandedly taking RR to victory when the next best score in the second half was only 25.
Sanju Samson Starts RR Captaincy Tenure With A Superlative Hundred
Sanju Samson, the captain, however, couldn’t help but feel the pinch of his team’s defeat after he failed to properly connect a wide yorker from PBKS pacer Arshdeep Singh when RR needed 5 runs to win off the final delivery.
Samson was out caught in the wide mid-off region after playing a drive on which he got more height than the elevation needed to take the ball out of the park.
During the post-match presentation ceremony, Samson was left speechless as he tried to give words to his feelings over the end outcome.
“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 (the last delivery), but unfortunately couldn’t clear the man in the deep,” said Samson.
Samson would do well not to blame himself for the result on the night as he got hardly any support from the other end despite the RR batting unit being glint with the likes of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
Later, Samson mentioned how he focused on pacing his innings correctly and trusting himself and his plans at the crease at all stages.
“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.”
This was an innings of high quality that should set Samson up for a bumper IPL season. Far too often Samson’s IPL campaigns have fizzled out as he has gone deeper into the tournament previously. But it’s a pattern that could be brought to a timely end as Sanju Samson feels extra determined and inspired to perform as batsman and captain for his team this time.