The next time I believe he will hit 10 yards further to win us a game, says Royals’ director of cricket
How captaincy would impact Sanju Samson’s batting was one of the questions asked ahead of the IPL. On Monday night at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, the new skipper of Rajasthan Royals provided the answer in a most emphatic style.
Short by a few yards
He played one of the great knocks in a lost cause at the IPL. His 119 off 63 balls fell shot by a few yards — quite literally — of what would have been an astonishing victory against Punjab Kings, chasing 222. No other Royals batsman managed more than 25.
Kumar Sangakkara, Royals’ director of cricket, was all praise for Samson’s extraordinary innings. “It was encouraging to see (him take the responsibility),” he said. “He was just five or six yards short of hitting the last ball for a six. The next time I believe he will hit ten yards further to win us a game.”
Sangakkara also was impressed with the efforts from youngsters Riyan Parag, whose 52-run stand with Samson for the fifth wicket kept Royals in the game, and Chetan Sakariya, the 22-year-old left-arm seamer who made a sparkling debut.
“Riyan is a special player and has got amazing hand-speed and great composure,” he said. “Chetan was just brilliant and his skill was on display. It was wonderful to see a bowler (doing well) in such a high-scoring game.”
The bowler who had the last laugh on Monday night, however, was Punjab’s Arshdeep Singh. The left-arm pacer bowled the final over and denied Samson.
“I backed myself and kept things simple,” he said.