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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Sanju Samson scored 119 ! and refused a single !!

438 runs in 40 overs .. ..  what a belter it turned out to be .. in the end – was the hero right in doing it ? – ‘it is opinion’ – could be pretty prejudiced one at that. .. .. and one cannot think how the arm-chair critics would have reacted had it been the mercurial MSD.  To some – he takes the match till the proverbial last match and thrives on that – he has done it more than a couple of times and when he could not fructify – people have torn into his flesh !!!

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Maharashtra on Monday reported a slight dip in the number of fresh cases, with 51,751 more people testing positive. The state also reported 258 more deaths. On Sunday, more than 63,000 people had tested positive for Covid in the state.  . .. . and right there in the middle at Wankhede, there was a pot-boiler.  Five required off two balls, an International allrounder in Chris Morris at the other end, Sanju Samson has been in dream touch, having hit seven sixes in his 119 off 61. Then he gets a ball right in the slot, and he hits it straight to a cleverly placed wide long-off. He refuses to run, drawing almost indignant bemusement from Morris and disbelieving looks from the dugout.  Was that a right decision ?

To his supporters and those who saw him the way he played, perhaps  Samson did the right thing and the end result should not change that at all.  5 off 2 – had he run a single – there would only be two possibilities (4 or 6 securing a win – otherwise loss – of course a 3 would have tied !) Wankhede is a small ground, the ball was hit hard and straight to the fielder. So the second was probably not on. Had Samson taken the single, he would have watched the last ball from the other end.

For Samson people may argue that had taken that single,  leaving  Morris, who was not middling the ball (wait he had played only 4 balls for 2) – yes he had missed a ball pitched in the slot but all that happens  Samson predicted that he is likelier to hit a six than Morris is to hit a four.  Chasing a formidable 222, Samson brought it down to 21 off 12 and then 13 off six. They managed only two off the first three balls of the last over and needed 11 from three when Samson crunched Arshdeep Singh over the covers for a six. He then drilled the next delivery along the ground to wide long-off but sent a sprinting Chris Morris back without a single, which took the equation to five from the final ball. Samson connected well with Singh's cutter but only found deep cover, where Deepak Hooda fittingly took the catch – it was all over and here are we debating !

Arshdeep  bowled the toughest over of the night, in which he kept aiming for the wide yorkers. The first three worked, the fourth didn't and eventually he trumped Samson to seal victory. Rajasthan Royals team director Kumar Sangakkara backed his captain Sanju Samson's decision to retain the strike for the last ball of the chase denying that single.

In that chase where Ben Stokes scored a duck and Jos Butler 25 – Riyan Parag was a revelation – hitting 3 sixers in his cameo of 25 off 11. He was so nonchalant in lofting deliveries beyond the rope.  Before concluding the other man, Chris Morris has scored International  50s in all 3 formats – and is one of the  IPL's biggest South African beneficiary having been bought for  US$625,000 at the 2013 auction and US$1 million three years later. Morris is a bowling allrounder, who often sends the speedgun beyond 140kph and bats fearlessly in the lower-order.  This year he had been picked for an astronomical price of  INR 16.25 crore – the highest-ever fee paid for a player.

Well played Sanju Samson, a great innings – but not a win for Rajasthan Royals which was within the reach of a single shot.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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