Chris Morris, the most expensive player in the history of IPL, was denied a strike on the penultimate delivery of the match between Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Rajasthan Royals. With five runs to win off two balls, RR captain Samson decided not to run a single. The move prompted quizzical looks from the Royals’ bench, while Morris himself seemed perplexed.
Samson was unable to hit the match-winning six, caught on the boundary rope from Punjab quick Arshdeep Singh’s final ball.
Now, Royals’ Director of Cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, has reacted to the controversial call made by Samson. Claiming that it was encouraging to see the new RR skipper believing in his abilities, Sangakkara reckoned that Samson backed himself to do the job and nearly pulled it off.
“I think Sanju backed himself to get the job done and he nearly did, he was 5 or 6 yards short of hitting the last ball for a six. And sometimes when you know you are hitting the ball well, you are in form and you believe that you can do it, you got to take that responsibility and it was really encouraging to see Sanju do that. We can always talk about a missed single here or there but the crucial thing for me is players’ belief, attitude and commitment to what they know their strengths are. Sanju took it upon himself to finish the game and he just fell a few yards short that happens but the next time I believe he’ll hit it 10 yards further to win us the game,” Sangakkara said at the post-match press conference.
‘Man of the match’ Samson played a stunning knock of 119 (63), becoming the only captain to hit a century on his captaincy debut in the IPL. He came in when RR lost the big wicket of Ben Stokes on just the third delivery of their 222-run chase. Sanju took his time initially and then shifted gears, taking the Punjab bowlers to the cleaners.
In the end, it was one hit that separated the two sides in the last-ball thriller at Wankhede.