Rajasthan Royals batsman Sanju Samson is probably in the form of his life given how he has started the 2018 edition of the IPL.
The Kerala-born Samson smashed his first half-century of the campaign as Rajasthan Royals put up a massive 217-4 in their 20 overs against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.
Arriving at the crease at the fall of opener D’Arcy Short’s wicket, the youngster found his zone quickly.
The right-hander smashed eight sixes against Virat Kohli’s men at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru before hitting his first boundary. That stat itself tells you all you need to know about the kind of innings Samson played.
Now that is what you expect from a player of the undeniable class of Sanju Samson. Not pretty 30s and 40s but biggies. What an innings this was…
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 15, 2018
Notching up 71 runs before finding his first boundary, Samson broke the record previously held by Nitish Rana of scoring the most runs (62) without hitting a single four.
The 23-year-old remained unbeaten on 92 from just 45 deliveries as he finished off the Royals innings with two straight sixes from the final three balls from Umesh Yadav. By the end of his innings, Samson had hit 10 sixes and just two boundaries. His first boundary came in the penultimate over. In his last eight deliveries, Samson struck five sixes, two boundaries and a single.
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) April 15, 2018
Such was the nature of his knock that Kohli and AB de Villiers applauded him as he walked off the pitch. It has been a dream start to this year’s IPL for Samson who scored a fine 49 in the first match against Sunrisers Hyderabad before scoring 37 in the win against Delhi Daredevils.
Royal Challengers Bangalore fast bowler Umesh Yadav has made a strong start to IPL 2018. He picked up 2-27 in a losing cause at the Eden Gardens against Kolkata Knight Riders but tasted success with a burst of 3-23 against Kings XI Punjab at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
His spell against Punjab saw Umesh dismiss Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh in one over to reduce Punjab to 36-3.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the fast bowler who was known to leak runs in limited overs matches and revealed the reason behind his new-found success is correct guidance from Bangalore bowling coach Ashish Nehra who asked him to bowl stump to stump to go with his high pace.
“As a fast bowler, when a bowling coach shows confidence in you, then your confidence increases,” Yadav said.
“Ashu bhai told me, ‘You have pace, try to bowl at the stumps, it will be better for you. You are a 140-plus (kph) bowler. If someone hits you straight for six, it’s fine by me’. Since our camp started, that is what we have worked on. He keeps telling me to bowl on the stumps, bowl stump-to-stump, outside off. ‘That’s your area. If you bowl there, we’ll get wickets.’ So I’m following that same plan.”
Yadav will have to be on top of his game again on Sunday as Bangalore host Rajasthan Royals. Both teams have one win and and one defeat apiece.
Chasing Kolkata’s modest total of 138-8, Sunrisers’ win was set up by a composed knock of 50 from captain Kane Williamson.
Earlier Hyderabad seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 3-26 while fellow quick Billy Stanlake took 2-21 as Kolkata struggled to cross the 130-run mark.
LYNN GETS GOING
Kolkata opener Chris Lynn was off the boil in the first two games. But he was bound to find the middle of the bat at some point. That happened on Saturday as he hit seven boundaries and a six during a 34-ball 49. The surface at the Eden Gardens was two-paced with encouragement for pace and spin. The next best was captain Dinesh Karthik’s 29 off 27. Without Lynn, the score would have been a lot closer to 100 than 150.
What a good buy big Billy Stanlake has been for @SunRisers. Pace and bounce, even in T20, is invaluable— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 14, 2018
HYDERABAD KNUCKLE DOWN
Hyderabad seamers Bhuvneshwar (3-26) and Siddarth Kaul (1-37) used the knuckle ball generously towards the death overs, given the sluggish nature of the wicket. Bhuvneshwar got the scalps of Shubman Gill (3) and captain Dinesh Karthik (29) while Kaul accounted for tail-ender Shivam Mavi (7) with their variation of the knuckle ball.
Their wickets came in handy on a day when leg-spinner Rashid Khan didn’t get any – 0-31.
KANE LEADS THE CHARGE
With most batsmen struggling for timing, Hyderabad captain Williamson relied on singles and twos to accumulate his runs. The Kiwi hit four boundaries and a six during his 44-ball 50. Compare that to opener Wriddhiman Saha who hit five boundaries during his innings of 24.
Williamson got out with 20 runs needed to win but Yusuf Pathan (17 off seven) ensured there were no hiccups as Sunrisers registered their first ever win at the Eden Gardens.