Mumbai, April 12: Sanju Samson’s sensational hundred in his debut as captain was unsuccessful as young arshdeep Singh kept his cool in the final to help the Punjab Kings secure a thrilling four-point victory over the Rajasthan Royals in a high-scoring IPL game here on Monday.
KL Rahul (91 of 50) and Deepak Hooda (64 of 28) propelled Punjab Kings to a massive 221 for six after being batted over a batting beauty.
Samson nearly brought the Royals home with breathtaking 119 balls on 63 balls, but was caught by the last ball of the game with left arm stimulator Arshdeep defending 13 points in the last over.
Samson, who effortlessly hit seven sixes and twelve fours, was so confident of bringing his team home that he denied Chris Morris a single on the penultimate point of the game as the Royals needed five. points on two balls. In the end, it wasn’t supposed to be for the Royals like the Punjab scratched.
Chasing 222, Rajasthan lost opening opener Ben Stokes (0) early. Arshdeep then knocked out Manan Vohra (12) as he threw in a regulatory comeback, leaving the Royals struggling at 25 for two.
Samson and Jos Buttler (25), who hit four successive borders off Riley Meredith, tried to take the game deep with a 45-point stand. Pacer Jhye Richardson caught up with Rajasthan by cleaning up Buttler.
Samson, who was dropped twice, completed his 50s with a limit and continued to play his shots to keep his team in the game despite losing partners on the other end.
The Royals recovered 26 points from 14th to 15th, then Murugan Ashwin conceded three sixes in 16th, while the Royals amassed 20 points, to reduce the equation to 48 points against the last four.
Samson beat Richardson for two limits and a six in the 18th, in which the Royals got 19 points and took his team on the verge of a fine victory before falling short.
Despite the win, the Punjab will fear their dear fast bowling rookies from Australia, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, disclosed 55 and 49 points respectively in their four overs.
Earlier, Rahul smashed seven fours and five sixes while Hooda, playing his first game since the last IPL, plundered six highs and four limits to pull the Punjab past 200.
They lost the opener Mayank Agarwal (14) early, which brought him back to Samson for the first wicket of IPL debutant Chetan Sakariya.
He ended up being the bowlers’ choice, conceding just five points in the 20th.
Rahul, who got his first four with a peek at the thin-legged fence, and Chris Gayle (40 of 28) gave the team a strong start with their 67-point stand.
Rahul got a ‘life’ after Ben Stokes dropped him at the fence in the seventh as Gayle looked at his elements.
The duo then faced off against Stokes, as Gayle hit his 350th IPL six, a deep square pullover in the 8th with Punjab running at 70 to one.
Gayle was dropped by leggie Rahul Tewatia (0/25) on his own bowling alley and the next ball the southpaw smashed a six.
However, in the 10th, Riyan Parag (1/7) knocked out Gayle, who was pushed back at Stokes into the deep.
Rahul then changed gears and reached his fifty with a six over the head of Shivam Dube (0/20) in the 13th.
Hooda then smashed two highs in the same course, then hit three sixes on Shreyas Gopal (0/40) in the next as the Punjab went ballistic.
It was Rahul and Hooda’s show at Wankhede that made the difference in their tally as the duo tore apart in the opposition attack en route to their 105-point stand.
Thanks to their monstrous strike, the Punjab added 111 points in the last eight overs.
Hooda, who scored 62 against CSK in his last competitive game in November, stormed Baroda’s camp ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy after claiming Krunal Pandya behaved badly with him. Hooda was subsequently suspended.