HAPPY BIRTHDAY SANJU SAMSON: ‘Underrated’ is the perfect definition for Sanju Samson. He is probably one of the few players who have made their legacy more in the Indian Premier League (IPL) than for his national side. Samson played for the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Daredevils before making a switch to Rajasthan Royals. The 28-year-old has become a stalwart of the Royals through his first eight seasons, scoring over 3000 runs for them and serving as the captain of the side.
Samson is a quality cricketer and has sound technique with both bat and gloves behind the stumps. He has also proved his mettle as a captain, leading Rajasthan to their second final of the cash-rich tournament in 2021. He continues to be the heartthrob of the Royals’ fans and has played some magical innings in the showpiece tournament.
AS SAMSON CELEBRATES HIS 28TH BIRTHDAY, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF HIS BEST PERFORMANCES IN THE IPL:
92 off 45 balls for Rajasthan Royals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2018
After completing a two-year ban, Rajasthan returned to the IPL in 2018. Their 11th match of the season against Virat Kohli’s Bangalore side ended up being Samson’s night.
Batting first the Rajasthan openers Ajinkya Rahane and D’Arcy Short set up a 49-run partnership for the first wicket. With the platform set, Samson entered the fray and demolished the bowlers from ball one. Showcasing his clean hitting and exquisite timing, Samson finished with a 45-ball 92. His efforts led Rajasthan to a total of 217 for the loss of four wickets. Samson smashed ten sixes during his innings. The Challengers fell short by 19 runs despite brave efforts from skipper Kohli and Mandeep Singh.
85 off 42 balls for Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings XI, 2020
Rajasthan had a disappointing season in the 2020 edition. They ended bottom of the league but had a few strong performances in their campaign. One such outing came against KL Rahul’s Punjab Kings XI.
The Punjab openers Rahul and Mayank Agarwal set up a massive opening partnership of 183 and led their side to a huge total of 223 runs. The Royals did not have the best of starts as they lost their star batter, Jos Buttler, cheaply.
In came Samson who emerged as a man on a mission. The right-handed batter went berserk smashing the Punjab bowlers all around the park. With four boundaries and seven sixes, Samson played a brilliant knock of 85 runs consuming just 42 balls. Rajasthan successfully chased down the mammoth total and Samson was awarded the man of the match title.
119 off 63 balls for Rajasthan Royals vs Punjab Kings XI, 2021
In IPL 2021, Rajasthan squared up against Punjab Kings XI in a high-scoring match. Punjab won the toss and elected to bat first. The Kings scored 220 runs thanks to solid performances from KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda, and a short cameo from Chris Gayle.
Rajasthan deployed a new strategy of putting out Ben Stokes and Manan Vohra to start the innings. However, the plan backfired with both the openers returning to the pavilion cheaply. Skipper Samson took up responsibility and put out an absolute hitting master class on the night. Samson finished with a ton, scoring 119 runs off just 63 balls in an otherwise lacklustre performance by the rest of the side. At one stage, he lowered the equation to 13 off six deliveries but failed to get Rajasthan over the line.
Nonetheless, it was a magnificent century under immense pressure.
102 off 63 balls for Delhi Daredevils against Rising Pune Supergiants, 2017
Samson notched up first IPL century in the 2017 season. Playing for the Delhi Daredevils Samson smashed 102 runs off 63 balls against Rising Pune Supergiants in his second stint for the franchise. He came into bat at number three and took on the Pune bowling attack right from the start. On his way to his century, Samson clobbered eight fours and five sixes.
His century aided his team to reach a 205-run total in the stipulated 20 overs. In response, the Rising Pune Supergiants failed miserably and were defeated by a huge margin of 108 runs. Samson etched his name into IPL’s history to become one of the youngest players to smash a ton.
102 off 55 balls for Rajasthan Royals against Sunrisers Hyderabad, 2019
Sanju Samson’s 102-run knock against Sun Risers Hyderabad in the 2019 edition is one of his best knocks in the IPL. With the exception of Rashid Khan, Hyderabad’s bowlers were peppered with boundaries all over the park as Samson established a 119-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane, guiding the side to a 198-run total in 20 overs.
Samson played a sumptuous knock of 102 runs and remained unbeaten. In his onslaught, he smashed 10 fours and four sixes. Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the other hand, put on a show in the second innings, chasing down the target in only 19 overs.
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