Sanju Samson entertained a packed house at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru with an innings of high pedigree and set the foundation for Rajasthan Royals’ second win of the season.Put in to bat, RR posted 217-4 – the highest total so far in VIVO IPL 2018 – riding on Samson’s unbeaten 92. In the second half of the match, Royal Challengers Bangalore were restricted to 198-6. End result: the Rajasthan Royals prevailed by 19 runs.
RCB, needing to post the highest run-chase in the history of the IPL, put up a fight.They were off to a quick start – making 64 in the first six overs. But the dismissals of Quinton de Kock (26 from 19), Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers (20) in the space of 31 runs all but put the lid on the chase. Kohli would be RCB’s top-scorer; he made 57, getting to his half-century in 26 balls – his quickest in T20 cricket.
Later in the innings, Mandeep Singh (who would remain unbeaten on 47) and Washington Sundar (who made 35 from 19 balls) stitched together a 56-run partnership to give the home fans some hope; but the task in front of them was close to impossible.
A mention has to be made of three brilliant catches the Rajasthan Royals fielders took in the field. Ben Stokes timed his jump to perfection to grab a flat hit by Brendon McCullum, D’Arcy Short took a good catch to dismiss Kohli, and Jos Buttler dived to his left to pull off a catch to dismiss Pawan Negi.
Standout batting performances
In his two outings prior to this match, Sanju Samson had struck the ball beautifully, but failed to convert his starts to a big score. On Sunday afternoon, the 23-year old was in his elements once again, but this time carried on and imposed himself on the RCB bowlers. He made 92 from 45 balls, and his innings was decorated with 10 sixes and two fours.
The way Samson batted, it didn’t appear as if he were batting in a match, but instead having a centre-wicket net session. The standout feature of Samson’s innings was how he went about scoring runs; he didn’t have to bludgeon the ball, but instead relied on timing. His consistency in middling the ball was astonishing; it was as if he stopped the ball just before it made contact with the bat and chose to put the middle of his bat against the ball. He scored predominantly down the ground – hitting each of his ten sixes off the middle of the bat.
Samson walked in to bat after Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed in the sixth over; he took his time to get going, but accelerated in the final five overs. He was 34 from 25 after 15 overs, and thereafter added 48 from the next 20 deliveries he faced; in this period, he hit Umesh Yadav for three sixes, hit Kulwant Khejroliya for two sixes and hit Chris Woakes for two fours and as many sixes.
Notable Support Act - Batting
The RR innings had several support acts. Ajinkya Rahane gave his team impetus early on; he batted aggressively against the quicks, used his feet against the spinners initially, and even pulled out the sweep shot on a couple of occasions. The RR captain made 36 from 20 balls before he holed out to the fielder at mid-on.
Ben Stokes made 27 from 21 balls and stitched together a 49-run partnership with Samson. Jos Buttler’s 23 (from 14 balls) contained two boundaries and a six; the RR wicket-keeper sensibly played second-fiddle in a 73-run partnership with Samson.
Standout bowling performance
The leg-spinners on the two sides – YuzvendraChahal & Shreyas Gopal – finished with identical returns of 4-0-22-2.
The performance of Chahal – the most successful bowler in IPL matches at the Chinnaswamy Stadium – was the most impressive on the night; when the rest of his teammates went at the rate of 11.81 runs per over, he finished with an economy rate of 5.50! He bowled smartly and bravely, and used the flighted delivery – deliberately thrown wide of the stumps – to dismiss D’Arcy Short and Ben Stokes.
Shreyas Gopal, who had the benefit of a having a mountain of runs to defend,was Rajasthan Royals’ best bowler; he dismissed the two best batsmen in the opposition – Kohli and de Villiers.
Stat of the Match
With his two wickets in this match, Yuzvendra Chahal became Royal Challengers Bangalore’s highest wicket-taker in the IPL; he now has one wicket more than R Vinay Kumar’s tally of 72 wickets.
Brief Scores: Rajasthan Royals 217-4 (Sanju Samson 92*, Ben Stokes , Yuzvendra Chahal 2-22) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 198-6 (Virat Kohli 57, Mandeep Singh 47*, Shreyas Gopal 2-22) by 19 runs.
Man of the Match: Sanju Samson, for his match-winning innings of 92.