Sanju Samson    AFP
Sanju Samson AFP

Sanju Samson gave Keralites the perfect Vishu (Malyalam New Year) gift but at Bengaluru with the highest individual score in VIVO IPL 2018. His powerful knock took Rajasthan Royals (RR) to 217 for 4 in 20 overs. It is also highest total in 2018 IPL. Samson would have torn apart the RCB bowlers with sixes only, until the two fours came in the penultimate over. Samson proved to be a nightmare to Umesh Yadav, in particular, who went for 27 runs in the final spell. The last 4 overs produced 75 runs. Samson did get able support from Jos Buttler (23) and Rahul Tripathi (14*). If RCB manage to chase this total, it will be highest successful chase for RCB.

Washington Sundar had figures of 4-0-22-2 that included 8 dot balls. This time he went for 8 more runs and no wickets, despite clocking 101 kmph. Chris Woakes, too, tried all sorts of variations: slower delivery, short deliveries. Nothing could stop the injured Rahane to come to his elements in his hunting ground Bengaluru. Umesh (the new hairstylists in town), who bowled 13 dot balls and scalped three crucial wickets against KXIP, was erratic with his bowling. He went for 11 in his first spell with Rahane, especially, looking in a punishable mood.

Woakes variations, finally, bore the result as Rahane miscued off a slower delivery caught by Umesh for 36. It was followed by Chahal s first wicket in the innings of run-out man D Arcy Short. The opener this time did not fall short of crease but short of runs. A momentum that was dilly-dallying between RCB and RR until the Powerplay, saw the hosts spinners coming good keeping RR batsmen under check. Ben Stokes, who had statement to make after low-key outings in the past two games, assisted Samson in pulling the game back to RR s favour.

Stokes did bring his best game forward with typical textbook shots off Khejroliya with back-to-back boundaries in the 11th over. Samson, on the other hand, continued his ominous form with his timings and placements.

Samson and Buttler hampered Chahal s milestone (leading wicket-taker for RCB) thereafter with his sixes and fours all over the park. Samson cruised to his 8th IPL fifty. RR were moving at 15 runs per over in the death overs. Woakes broke the Buttler-Samson storm with subtle celebrations. But Samson entertained the ‘green’ Chinnaswamy Stadium with most sixes in 2018 IPL.

Brief scores:

Rajasthan Royals 217 for 4 in 20 overs (Sanju Samson 92*, Ajinkya Rahane 36; Yuzvendra Chahal 2 for 22, Chris Woakes 2 for 47) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore