On Monday, the Indian television audience witnessed a high scoring match between Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Batting first, the Punjab-franchise riding high on the shoulders of their captain KL Rahul and the middle-order batsman Deepak Hooda posted an improbable 221/6 on board in their allotted 20 overs.
Rahul scored a 50-ball 91 laced with seven fours and five sixes, and Hooda scored a 28-ball 64, which included four fours and six sixes, leaving RR in tatters. The mammoth total looked unchaseable, as RR lost both their openers for just 25 runs.
Coming in to bat at number three, RR captain Sanju Samson set the tone for his team. While the rest of the team faltered, Samson, who stuck to one end, continued to provide solidarity.
The right-hander played a heroic inning of 119 runs off 63 balls that included 12 fours and seven sixes at an impressive strike rate of 188.89. With the help of his valiant knock, the Jaipur-based franchise came as close as needing just 13 runs off the last over.
Rahul showed confidence in his left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh and gave him the charge to bowl the final over. Riding high on adrenaline, Samson smashed the fourth ball for a six. The twist in the match came when RR needed five runs off the last two balls.
The Kerala-born batsman hit the penultimate ball to long-off but denied his partner Chris Morris a single, putting pressure on himself as they needed five runs off the last ball.
While the entire cricketing fraternity seems divided over this move, Kumar Sangakkara and Brian Lara backed Samson’s decision.
The former West Indies-captain opined that the youngster did the right thing and explained that had Samson gone for a double, there were chances of him getting run out. He further added that if anyone had to hit the scoring runs, it would be Samson. He also applauded the 25-year-old for his brilliant innings.
“I think it was the right decision. I think if anybody had to hit a boundary, it had to be Sanju Samson. If he had gone back for the 2nd run, there was an opportunity to get him run-out. I think he did the right thing. No doubts about it in my mind. Tremendous innings. I would not point fingers at him for not taking that single in the last over,” the veteran told Star Sports.
The last ball of the match saw Samson loft the ball to deep extra cover where Hooda took a simple catch and ended the wicketkeeper-batsman’s innings with RR losing the game by four runs.