Eighteen-year old Rajasthan Royals player Sanju Vishwanath Samson on Monday provided that break Kerala cricket has been waiting for since ages - the imprint of a genuine batsman on the national cricketing psyche.
In smashing a match-winning 41-ball 63 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the batting sensation put the likes of Chris Gayle, A B De Villiers, Virat Kohli, Shane Watson and Rahul Dravid in the shade to walk away with the Man of the Match honour at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.
To top it, the most gifted batsman to have come out of Kerala also became the youngest ever half-centurion in IPL, at 18 years and 169 days.
The Vizhinjam native, having amassed tons of runs in age-group cricket over the past seven seasons, betrayed little nerves of a newcomer as he strode in at the crucial number three position to guide RR to a position of strength. That the legendary Rahul Dravid, the Royals captain, had the confidence to send the wicketkeeper-batsman ahead of Watson, Hodge and Owais Shah while chasing a 172-run target should speak volumes for his ability.
Though the aggressive right-hander edged and missed a few times, the shots that he connected had an unmistakable stamp of authority.