Young gun dubbed ‘future of Indian cricket’ after six blitz
SANJU Samson bludgeoned 92 off 45 balls and spearheaded Rajasthan Royals to a 19-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Samson's powerful innings featured 10 sixes and two fours as Rajasthan was put in to bat and scored 4-217.
It was a performance so impressive that Australian teammate Ben Laughlin tweeted with tongue firmly in cheek - we assume - that the 23-year-old was the equal to Don Bradman.
Samson has only played one match for India to date and his first-class average of 38.26 doesn't exactly shout second coming, but he did manage to hit more sixes in a single innings than Bradman did in his entire Test career. The Don hit six sixes across his 52 Tests.
"I'm feeling good, hitting the ball well, but the tournament has just started," Samson said of his innings.
Bangalore was restricted to 6-198 in reply, left behind in its run-chase once captain Virat Kohli (57 off 30) and AB de Villiers (20 off 18) holed out in the deep off legspinner Shreyas Gopal (2-22).
Samson took 34 balls to complete his half-century before Rajasthan cut loose in the last five overs and plundered 88 runs.
Jos Buttler scored 23 off 14 as Samson took charge by hitting seven of his 10 sixes off the last 30 balls of the innings.
Seamer Umesh Yadav (0-59) bowled the disastrous last over of the innings, at a cost of 27 runs, as Rajasthan set up host Bangalore for what would have been a record IPL successful run-chase.
Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal (2-22) was the best bowler for Bangalore and, although Chris Woakes also picked up two wickets, he was expensive and conceded 47 runs.
Kohli completed his fastest 50 in the IPL off 26 balls and kept the home team in the game by raising the team's 100 runs in 10 overs.
But in-between, wicketkeeper Buttler twice let de Villiers off the hook when he missed a stumping and run out chance.
Gopal removed Kohli and de Villiers to make Bangalore stutter at 114-4 in the 13th over.
Mandeep Singh (47 not out off 25 balls) and Washington Sundar (35) narrowed the margin of defeat with a 56-run, sixth-wicket stand, but Rajasthan always looked in control to record its second victory in the tournament.
"We were looking to score 160-170, but the way Sanju and Jos batted (it) was incredible," Ajinkya Rahane said. "Sanju and I have played together, he's the future for India."