It was always going to be a baptism of fire for Sanju Samson after being anointed the new leader of Rajasthan Royals. The eyes of the world was upon him and the task was not made any easier when Punjab Kings posed his side a mammoth target of 222.
The task got even harder when their superstar Ben Stokes was dismissed for a duck and the top order departed without making any telling contributions. The responsibility fell squarely on Sanju and the Kerala cricketer stepped up by scoring an electrifying century.
The 26-year-old was dropped twice early on but went on to score 119, which was nearly a match-winning one. Rajasthan just fell short of the target after he was dismissed in the final ball. Punjab Kings managed to hold on but Sanju, despite added responsibility of being the captain, proved that he can be a match winner for his side. Rajasthan lost but Sanju would have won many hearts.
Brief scores: Punjab Kings 221/6 in 20 ovs (Rahul 91, Gayle 40, Hooda 64; Sakariya 3/31, Morris 2/41) bt Rajasthan Royals 217/7 in 20 ovs (Samson 119; Arshdeep 3/35).