IPL 2024: Sanju Samson, Sandeep Sharma show as RR beat Lucknow Super Giants | Crickit
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IPL 2024: Sanju Samson, Sandeep Sharma show as RR beat Lucknow Super Giants

By, New Delhi
Mar 24, 2024 08:41 PM IST

The Royals skipper hit a 41-ball 64 before pacer Sandeep Sharma's crucial 17th over helped check LSG's chase for a 20-run win in Jaipur

In a game where Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants had three wicketkeeping options each, it was only apt that the biggest contributions came from them. Electing to bat, skipper Sanju Samson hit an unbeaten 52-ball 82 to take RR to 193/4. In response, Nicholas Pooran, who didn’t don the keeping gloves with LSG captain KL Rahul performing that role, also produced fireworks with an unbeaten 64 off 41 balls.

Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson celebrates his half-century during the match against Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League 2024, at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday(ANI)
Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson celebrates his half-century during the match against Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League 2024, at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday(ANI)

But if Samson took the honours of contributing to a 20-run win in their opening IPL game in Jaipur on Sunday, it was thanks to a performance no less important by medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma. When LSG needed 49 runs off the final four overs, they would have backed themselves because Pooran and Rahul had added 85 runs in 51 balls for the fifth wicket till then.

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RR vs LSG IPL 2024: Highlights

But Sharma, with the nerve to bowl at the death, produced a precious five-run 17th over that included Rahul's wicket. R Ashwin backed up Sharma by giving away only four runs in the 18th over while also claiming Marcus Stoinis' scalp. It left LSG needing 38 runs in the last two overs, too much for even a batter with Pooran’s power to track down.

That LSG came even this close was unexpected when they were pegged back with three wickets in 3.1 overs for 11 runs. Trent Boult was offered a gift in his opening over when a half-volley on leg stump was flicked by Quinton de Kock to Nandre Burger at long leg. In his second over, Boult bowled Devdutt Padikkal (0 — 3b) with a short ball that kept low and slid underneath the batter’s attempted pull. Ayush Badoni chipped Burger to Jos Buttler at mid-off.

Despite the wretched start to Lucknow’s chase, Deepak Hooda counterattacked with a 13-ball 26. With Rahul seemingly predisposed to slow starts, Hooda’s stay, though brief, was crucial to keeping the asking rate within reach. When Hooda was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal in the eighth over, Rahul had consumed 19 balls for 20 runs. Rahul subsequently caught up in the 11th over with a sequence that read 6, 4 and 4 against Burger. Next over, a paddle sweep off Ashwin earned Rahul another four.

That was when Samson brought Boult back for his final over in search of a wicket. Pooran tore into the left-armer, cutting, driving and slogging for two sixes and a four in a 20-run over.

Pooran’s big-hitting exploits, however, were trumped by Samson earlier in the evening. The 29-year-old got the hosts going alongside Yashasvi Jaiswal (24 — 12b) with a 36-run stand that took them to 49/2 in five overs. The fifth over, by Mohsin Khan, was punished for 17 runs — Samson teed off with a four and six before Jaiswal moved across his stumps and paddled a full ball over fine leg for his first six. A productive over for RR ended though with Jaiswal miscuing a pull to Krunal Pandya at mid-on.

Samson and Riyan Parag added only 14 runs in the next three overs, but that was only a temporary lull in an otherwise boundary-laden display. Seamer Yash Thakur's introduction in the ninth over was the prompt for the duo to shift gears. The 25-year-old from Vidarbha played into the batters' hands by repeatedly pitching it short in a 21-run over that included three sixes.

Two more sixes quickly followed in the 11th over by leggie Ravi Bishnoi, whose tendency to slide the ball into the right-hander allowed Parag to pick his slot wide of long-on. Two balls later, Samson went straighter but got as much distance for the fourth six of his innings.

While Samson brought up his fifty off 33 balls, Parag slowed down a trifle before picking up pace again with a four and six in the 15th over — the latter over long-off against Naveen-ul-Haq was akin to a tennis forehand crosscourt. But the Afghanistan pacer had his revenge when Parag sliced a pull to Hooda at deep square leg, ending a 93-run partnership for the third wicket.

Samson staying through to the end allowed RR to score 50 runs off the final five overs and get to what proved a match-winning total.

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