Sanju Samson hoists Rajasthan Royals with first century of IPL-12, but Hyderabad Sunrisers clinch a thriller with their highest successful run chase.
Sanju Samson registered the first century of IPL-12 but ended up on the losing side as Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Rajasthan Royals by five wickets, in Hyderabad, on Friday.
Samson's hundred was overshadowed by David Warner's blistering fifty. The dashing Australian set up the platform for Sunrisers with a breezy 69 off 37 balls. He and Jonny Bairstow (45 off 28) put up a century stand for the opening wicket to dash whatever hopes the visitors may have entertained after posting a huge 199 runs.
Sunrisers needed a quick start to fancy their chances of eclipsing Rajasthan's imposing total of 198 for 2 and Warner and Bairstow provided the impetus for the rest of the batsmen to follow as the hosts chased down the target in 19 overs. It was Sunrisers's highest successful run-chase.
Warner started clobbering the Rajasthan bowlers from the word go. The Aussie, who hit 85 against Kolkata Knight Riders in a losing cause in the team’s opener, went hammer and tongs from the beginning and struck fours and sixes at will to propel Sunrisers to 54 for no loss after five overs.
He and Bairstow put on 110 runs off just 58 balls for the opening stand, but just when it seemed Warner would run away with the game, Ben Stokes foxed him with a perfect short ball and he was out, caught by Dhawal Kulkarni at deep fine leg.
Warner's knock was studded with nine fours and two sixes.
It would have been a double blow for Sunrisers had Kulkarni not dropped Bairstow at third-man a ball later. However, Kulkarni made up for the lapse on the final ball of the next over, latching on to a fine catch at the long-off to send Bairstow packing.
Skipper Kane Williamson (14) and Vijay Shankar (35 off 15) played aggressively to bring the equation within reach but three quick wickets, that too off consecutive deliveries from Shreyas Gopal (3/27) in the 16th over, changed the complexion of the game.
The stage was set for a tense finish, but Yusuf Pathan (16 not out) and Rashid Khan (15 not out), later named man of the match, played sensibly to overhaul the target.
Earlier, Samson came out firing on all cylinders and battered the Sunrisers bowlers during his unbeaten 102 that came off just 55 balls, with the help of 10 fours and four hits over the fence.
It was his second IPL hundred. His first century in the T20 tournament was in 2017.
Opening the batting after winning the toss, Ajinkya Rahane led from the front with a 49-ball 70 and with Samson shared 119 runs for the second wicket to set the base for the total after the early dismissal of Jos Buttler.
Introduced into the attack in the fourth over, Rashid Khan (1/24) struck with only his second delivery, cleaning up dangerman Buttler around his legs.
Rajasthan's decision to bat first did not go according to plan, at least in the powerplay, as the visitors struggled against Sunrisers's disciplined bowling to garner just 35 runs in the first six overs.
After Buttler's dismissal, skipper Rahane was joined at the crease by Samson and the duo played cautiously to take Rajasthan forward.
While Rahane played the anchor's role, Samson opened up his arms soon and smashed two sixes in consecutive overs of Shabaz Nadeem and Siddharth Kaul to give some momentum to Rajasthan's innings.
Rahane soon joined his junior colleague and clobbered Nadeem straight over his head as Rajasthan reached 75 for one at the half-way stage.
After a slow start, Rahane stepped on the accelerator and welcomed Vijay Shankar with six over deep square leg boundary.
Both Rahane and Samson paced their innings to perfection. After playing cautiously initially, they broke the shackles when needed and notched the team's 100 in 11.5 overs.
Rahane registered his first fifty of the ongoing IPL off 38 balls while Samson brought up his half-century off 34 deliveries; the duo raised the 100-run stand for the second wicket in 65 balls.
Rahane finally departed in the 16th over, bowled by Nadeem, caught by Manish Pandey at long-on as he went for a big shot.
He struck four boundaries and three sixes during his knock.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar's torrid time at the ‘death’ overs continued. If it was Andre Russell in the last match, it was Samson on Friday. The young Kerala batsman took the senior pacer to cleaners, hitting him for four boundaries and one six to gather 24 runs from the 18th over.
As if that was not enough, Bhuvneshwar witnessed yet another forgettable day as he leaked 21 runs in the last over.