IPL 2020: Sanju Samson shines at Sharjah as Rajasthan Royals beat Chennai Super Kings

Samson blazed nine sixes in a remarkable innings worth 74 off 32 balls to set Rajasthan Royals on their way to a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings

Sanju Samson blasted nine sixes in a remarkable innings of 74 off 32 balls to set Rajasthan Royals on their way to a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings. Sportzpics for BCCI
Sanju Samson blasted nine sixes in a remarkable innings of 74 off 32 balls to set Rajasthan Royals on their way to a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings. Sportzpics for BCCI

Sanju Samson must wish he could play all his cricket in Sharjah. It is a pity for him he gets to do it so infrequently.

The modest dimensions of the boundaries at the UAE’s oldest cricket venue make it defenceless when Samson is in the mood like this.

He blazed nine sixes in a remarkable innings worth 74 off 32 balls to set Rajasthan Royals on their way to a 16-run win over Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.

The last time he played in Sharjah, he scored an IPL half-century, too. Back then, he was still a teenager finding his way in the game, when part the 2014 IPL was exiled to the Emirates.

And three months previous to that, too, he had scored an 87-ball hundred to underpin India’s win over Pakistan in the final of the Under 19 Asia Cup.

With that form behind him, he must have felt confident when he arrived here again, even if it was six years later.

Samson brought up his half-century in just 19 balls. Only Jos Buttler has scored one quicker than that in Rajasthan’s IPL history.

He was particularly brutal on the leg-spin of Piyush Chawla, whose first two overs went for 47.

Samson hit nine sixes and one four in all, then suggested on his TV interview between innings that the pitch had been tricky to bat on.

“I had a really fun time in the middle,” Samson said.

“It was not a good wicket. It was slow and I had to wait for the ball to come to me.

"When they bowled on a good length it was not easy to hit.”

Steve Smith, the Rajasthan captain, also scored a half-century in his first game after recovering from concussion, and in his new role as an opener.

“It is always a pleasure to bat with Steve Smith, one of the world’s best batsmen,” Samson said of putting on 121 runs with his captain in a little over nine overs.

“When he opens the batting and aims to bat till the 20th over I think it makes it really easy for those batting around him.”

Jofra Archer also savaged the final over of the innings, with Lungi Ngidi going for 30, as Rajasthan finished on 216-7 from their 20 overs.

The fact 30 runs in an over occurred twice in the Rajasthan innings was a clue to the fact conditions overwhelmingly favoured the batsmen. The 33 sixes in the game matches the record for an IPL match.

But the task was still well beyond Chennai. Faf du Plessis made 72 off 37 balls, before becoming the fourth player to fall to Samson’s glovework.

The irrepressible wicketkeeper batsman had three stumpings, plus the catch of Du Plessis off Archer, as Chennai reached 200-6.

Updated: September 24, 2020 06:26 PM

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