Images from Monday's IPL match between Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals, in Mumbai.
Sanju Samson scored a magnificent hundred -- the first of IPL 2021 -- but it wasn't enough to take Rajasthan Royals past Punjab Kings in a high-scoring thriller, at the Wankhede stadium, in Mumbai on Monday.
Chasing a daunting 222 for victory, the Royals were reeling at 0 for 1 and 70 for 3 before skipper Samson launched an all-out attack.
Playing his first match as captain of Rajasthan Royals, he hit seven sixes and 12 fours in a swashbuckling knock of 119 off 62 balls, but was unable to take the team across the line, falling to the final delivery of the match with five to get.
He was so confident of taking the team home that he refused a single to Chris Morris off penultimate delivery of the game when Royals needed five runs off two balls.
He went for a six off the last ball from Arshdeep Singh, but failed to get the distance and was caught on the boundary by Deepak Hooda.
Left-arm pacer Arshdeep, who defended 13 runs in the last over, finished with figures of 3 for 35, as Punjab Kings won by four runs. Mohammed Shami bagged 2 for 33.
Earlier, skipper K L Rahul and Deepak Hooda pummeled the Rajasthan Royals bowlers into submission with sensational knocks to propel Punjab Kings to an imposing 221.
While Rahul smashed seven fours and five sixes in his 50-ball 91, Hooda, playing his first match since the last IPL, plundered six maximums and four boundaries as he blazed his way to 64 off just 28 balls, after the early dismissal of Mayank Agarwal (14), who edged one back to Royals captain and wicketkeeper Sanju Samson to give IPL debutant Chetan Sakariya his maiden wicket.
Sakariya went on to be the pick of the Rajasthan bowlers, claiming three wickets for 31 runs in four overs.
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals won the toss and elected to bowl.
Riley Meredith, Jhye Richardson and Shahrukh Khan made their debut for the Kings, while Manan Vohra, Mustafizur Rahman, Shivam Dube and Chetan Sakariya debuted for Rajasthan Royals.
Punjab Kings opened with K L Rahul, who scored 670 runs from 14 matches in the 2020 season, and Mayank Agarwal, who was also among the top run-getters last season, with 424 runs from 11 matches.
The pair could put up just 21 runs before left-arm pacer Sakariya effected the breakthrough for his first IPL wicket.
The Saurashtra bowler, after conceding 10 runs in the opening over, sent down a fuller delivery just outside off, which Agarwal went after but could only get the edge, and the offering was well-taken by wicketkeeper Sanju Samson. Agarwal was out for 14 off 9 balls and Punjab Kings 22 for 1 in the third over.
Chris Gayle walked in next and showed intent immediately. He and Rahul took Punjab Kings to 46 for 1 after the first six overs. Gayle scored 14 off 14 balls and Rahul 15 off 13 of those runs in the powerplay. Soon they brought up the 50-run partnership off 36 balls.
Gayle was dropped on 29 by leg spinner Rahul Tewatia, who failed to hold on to a return catch, and he celebrated the ‘life’ by hitting the next delivery for his second six of the innings.
However, leggier Riyan Parag ended the West Indian’s assault. Gayle tried to go after the bowler, who was in his first over, mistimed the shot and Ben Stokes pulled off an awesome catch at long-on. Gayle was out after a 28-ball 40 and Punjab Kings reduced to 89 for 2 in the tenth over.
Soon after Rahul brought up his 22nd IPL fifty off 31 balls and with Deepak Hooda, the new-man in, stepped up the charge. Hooda launched into the bowlers immediately, hitting five sixes and four while scoring 40 off only 16 balls as Punjab Kings went past 150 in the 15th over. He then hit his sixth six and followed it up with a single to bring up his 50 off only 20 balls.
Hooda’s magnificent innings was finally ended by Chris Morris. The batsman attempted another but doesn't get the reach and was caught at mid-wicket by Riyan Parag after a well-made 64 off 28 balls.
Nicholas Pooran, who replaced Hooda, did not trouble the scorers as Sakaria pulled off a blinder at short fine leg off Morris’s bowling. He was out for a duck and Punjab lost their fourth wicket at 196.
Rahul then fell after Punjab added just four more runs. Sakariya bagged his second wicket as Rahul pulled to deep mid-wicket and Tewatia had the presence of mind to release the ball before crossing the boundary and completing the catch after getting back. Rahul was out for 91.
Sakariya got his third wicket, having Jhye Richardson caught by Morris before Punjab finished with 221 for 6.
Ben Stokes and Manan Vohra opened the batting for Rajasthan Royals. However, it was a disastrous start.
After two dot balls, Stokes tried to go big against Mohammed Shami, miscued and was caught by Shami even as he ran into Rahul, who also ran in to take the catch. There was no injury to the fielders but Stokes was out for a duck. The Royals were 0 for 1 after three deliveries.
New-man in skipper Sanju Samson propped the innings a bit with Vohra before Arshdeep Singh struck. The left-arm pacer took a superb return catch on his follow through to end Vohra’s stay. Vohra out for 12 and Rajasthan Royals were 25 for 2 in the fourth over.
Samson and Jos Buttler revived the innings, guiding the Royals to 59 for 2 after six overs.
However, Jhye Richardson, back into the attack, was bang on target. He sent down a full, slow delivery in the slot, Buttler failed to connect and saw his stumps rattled. He was out for 25 off 13 and the Royals reduced to 70-3 in the eighth over.
Meanwhile, Samson brought up his 50, which included seven fours and two sixes, off 32 balls. The joy appeared short-lived as there was a shout for LBW next ball and the umpire raised his finger, but Samson took the review and won it.
Shivam Dube scored a brisk 23 off 15 before going for a big hit and perishing. He got the elevation but not the distance and was caught in the deep by Hooda off Arshdeep.
At that stage -- 123-4 in the 13th over --Rajasthan needed 12 runs an over for victory. Could Samson and Tewatia see them through? They brought up the 50 runs partnership off 19 balls thanks to a flurry of sixes from Tewatia in the 16th over.
Things were getting tight for Kings with Rajasthan needing 48 off 24 balls. But Shami struck to end the partnership. Back into the attack, the pacer started with a wide and then bowled a bouncer that Parag chased but could not connect. The batsman went after another bouncer next ball but got the top edge and was caught behind by Rahul.
Parag was out for 25 off 11 and Royals down to 175 in the 17th over. Thereafter, it was Samson all the way. Sadly, he was unable to finish it off.
Samson, who was dropped twice, kept playing his shots to keep the team in the game despite losing partners at the other end.
Royals scored 26 runs from the 14th and 15th over and then Murugan Ashwin conceded three sixes in the 16th over, as they amassed 20 runs, to bring down the equation to 48 from the last four.
Samson hammered Richardson for two boundaries and a six in the 18th over, in which Royals got 19 runs and took the team on the cusp of a fine win before falling short.
- IPL 2021