PUNE: Sanju Samson hit IPL-10's first century in Delhi Daredevils' 97-run annihilation of Rising Pune Supergiant here tonight, firmly putting behind a domestic season he would like to forget with an innings to remember.
With his 63-ball 102, the 22-year-old wicketkeeper underlined why he is considered talented, as Daredevils notched up a formidable 205 for four after being sent in. Chris Morris blazed his way to 38 off a mere nine balls, helping the visitors amass 45 runs runs in the last two overs of the innings with a flurry of sixes and fours. In reply, Pune's innings fell apart within the first 10 overs as they were reeling at 54 for five. Eventually, the hosts were bowled out for a paltry 108 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Samson's last domestic season was marred by disciplinary issues - he had left the team dressing room in the middle of a Ranji Trophy match. The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) let him off with a warning for his alleged misconduct with a rider that his father Viswanadh would not "interfere with his son's cricketing activities". An unconditional apology salvaged the situation for the father-son duo. That was then.
Given the way he toyed with the bowlers, Samson made it amply clear that he has put those issues behind, and an attack that was lacking in both venom and vision would not take away anything from his knock that happened to be his maiden T20 hundred. Samson got to his maiden T20 century with a straight six off Adam Zampa in the Daredevils innings' penultimate over. In all, Samson struck eight boundaries and five sixes, while Morris found the fence four times and cleared it thrice during his cameo.
Pune lost Aditya Tare early, but Samson took the Pune attack by the scruff of its neck, and was soon dealing in boundaries. Samson was severe on Deepak Chahar, playing the bowler through the point region for two back-to-back boundaries, which got Daredevils off the blocks after an economical first over.
In the next over, Samson launched into Ashok Dinda for three boundaries, his off-side play standing out at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, as Delhi went along fluently.
Introduced into the attack after the first timeout, Imran Tahir provided Pune their second breakthrough when he cleaned up Sam Billings with a slider that went through the big gap between the bat and body.
Billings' dismissal paved the way for Rishabh Pant, who showed steely resolve in Daredevils' first match, having joined the team soon after performing the last rites of his father.
Pant, once again, got into the act quickly, sending Rajat Bhatia's dibbly-dobblers, first straight over the sight-screen followed by one over the long-on for maximums. Looking good to add some more runs to his name, Pant was run out for a 22-ball 31 when Mayank Agarwal's brilliant direct throw from the point region hit the stumps at the non- striker's end, leaving the batsman well short of the crease.
Meanwhile, Samson reached his half century off 41 balls, hitting six boundaries. The 22-year-old scored his first six when he hit Zampa over long-off. He paced his innings well and switched gears by hitting Dinda for 19 runs in the 18th over, which included two sixes and a boundary.
The total proved way beyond Pune as they lost wickets at regular intervals for their second defeat in the tournament, while Delhi opened their account. Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan picked up 3/20, while leg- spinner Amit Mishra had 3/11.