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Sanju Samson scored 102 off 63 AFP

Ajinkya Rahane called the shots when Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) took field without their captain Steven Smith in Match 9 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Ahead of RPS’ second home game at Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune, Smith suffered from stomach illness. However, the brand of cricket Delhi Daredevils (DD) approached, even Smith’s captaincy could not have helped his team put a lid on the runs. Sanju Samson scored his maiden century, swatting staggering boundaries around the park. For that matter, Rahane had invited DD to bat first citing the dew will affect the team fielding second. Given DD batsmen did their part, the onus is now on their bowlers to defend a colossal 206-run target. Full Cricket Scorecard, Rising Pune Supergiant vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2017, Match 9

Ashoke Dinda started off with a 2-run over. But that was the only respite for the remaining overs of batting powerplay. From 2 for 0, the scorecard read 62 for 1 after 6 overs. Samson had reached 35 already, with Sam Billings on 21 off 12.

DD batsmen caught the RPS bowlers by throat and strangled the life out of them. And that is when Rahane brought Imran Tahir to resurrect the faltering bowling. The highest wicket-taker of IPL 10 conceded only 4 runs off his first over. Of course, there were wrong ‘uns followed by loud lbw appeals.

From the other end came another leg-spinner Adam Zampa. He emulated his senior spinner, and DD batsmen found trouble to continue the rampage against the spinners. The ball, though, came on to bat well, but the spin duo did not give any room for the batsmen to open their arms.

The hard work paid off. Billings came down to track to find the lost momentum and failed to make any connection off Tahir’s googly. Rahane, after the fall of wicket, introduced Rajat Bhatia and changed ends for Zampa, keeping Tahir for the later overs.

The stand-in captain seemed to have done a commendable job, as RPS did not give away single boundary after four overs of powerplay. Samson, who had bludgeoned the new ball, slowed down. Meanwhile, dynamo Risabh Pant hit two sixes off Bhatia’s over to lead the resurgence. Rahane, yet again, after a brief onslaught, brought Tahir and DD were on the back foot. He leaked only 4 runs off his first over of second spell.

The pressure got the better of DD. Pant ran himself out in the pursuit of taking a risky single. All the same, Samson knew time was running out and he upped the ante. He smacked a six off Tahir’s final over. He then went on to blast 19 runs off Dinda, with 4 runs short of the three-figure mark.

In came Zampa, and Samson went down town to score his first century in T20 cricket.

The centurion then tried to continue the onslaught but was knocked over the very next ball for 102.

The responsibility was on Chris Morris, and he ended the proceedings the way Samson had started. He scored 38 not off 9 balls, with DD scoring as many as 76 runs off the last 4 overs.

Brief score:

Delhi Daredevils 205 for 4 (102 (63), Rishabh Pant 31 (22); Imran Tahir 1 for 24, Deepak Chahar 1 for 35) vs Rising Pune Supergiant

Full scorecard