BENGALURU: It takes something special to outshine the likes of AB De Villiers and Virat Kohli. Despite the big names of Royal Challengers Bangalore, a 23-year-old from Rajasthan Royals stole the show on Sunday with a knock of 92 from 45 balls. The innings proved that one does not need only muscles and power to succeed in T20s, but timing is an important tool which players of smaller frame like Sanju Samson can make use of.
The Kerala batsman played a pivotal role in his team reaching 217 runs. He changed gears during the last five overs, when Royals scored 88 runs, of which he scored more than 50, including seven sixes. Samson just took his time initially and began dealing in sixes once he got his eye in after which there was no looking back on a pitch good for batting. Even Kohli praised Samson.
“He is a talented player, we have seen over the years he has done well in the IPL. He has got a good, simple game, strong in the crease, very balanced. He got off to a good start, then bowlers bowled well, he kept hanging in there. In the end, he was striking it really well. Credit to him,” said Kohli.
After conceding 217, the Challengers had to come out all guns blazing, but they suffered an early setback with Brendon McCullum (4) out in the first over. Skipper Kohli kept them in the game, and raised hopes of chasing down the target with amazing strokeplay.
If Samson’s innings was characterised by sixes, Kohli (57) was dealing in boundaries. His stay with Quinton de Kock (26) was promising, but both falling in quick succession increased the pressure on De Villiers. The South African got a reprieve when Jos Buttler missed a stumping chance and another run out opportunity when De Villiers. Most of the times he would make his opponents pay, but it was not to be as he lost his wicket in the 13th over for 20.
With 100-plus required in seven overs, Mandeep Singh (47) was the last remaining specialist batsman. He and Washington Sundar (35) gave it their all in a partnership of 56 runs, but it was too much for them.
“Them stringing a partnership at that stage was an outstanding effort. It gives us confidence when you know that when top guys don’t do it, you still have guys who can do it in the lower order,” said Kohli.
Despite their effort, it was Samson’s innings which proved to be the difference in a contest which witnessed 415 runs, including 34 fours and 21 sixes. It was a batting surface of Chinnaswamy of the old, but the result was a letdown for home fans.
Brief scores: RR 217/4 in 20 ovs (Samson 92 n.o, Rahane 36; Woakes 2/47, Chahal 2/22) bt RCB 198/6 in 20 ovs (Kohli 57, Mandeep 47 n.o, Washington 35, Gopal 2/22).