Sanju Samson (left) and Shane Watson both scored half-centuries for Rajasthan Royals © PTI (File Photo)
Sanju Samson (left) and Shane Watson both scored half-centuries for Rajasthan Royals © PTI (File Photo)

 

By Shrikant Shankar

 

Apr 20, 2014

 

Sanju Samson and Shane Watson scored belligerent half-centuries each as Rajasthan Royals (RR) totaled 191 for five against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 on April 20. Samson and Watson shared a 74-run partnership for the third wicket for Rajasthan. Samson top-scored with 52 off 34 deliveries and captain Watson scored 50 from 29. Steven Smith’s late charge propelled the Royals to a big total in the IPL 7 match at Sharjah.

 

Punjab captain George Bailey had won the toss and elected to bowl. In the previous match, Punjab had conceded 205 runs against Chennai Super Kings. This was no different as they conceded almost the same amount of runs. Samson struck three fours and four sixes while Watson hit five fours and three sixes. Akshar Patel was the pick of the bowlers with one wicket for 22 runs in his full quota of overs.

 

It was Akshar who began proceedings for Punjab. Abhishek Nayar and Ajinkya Rahane opened the batting for Rajasthan. Rahane struck the first boundary of the match with a four towards extra-cover. Mitchell Johnson bowled the second over. He pitched one shot and Rahane hooked it behind square on the leg side for a four.

 

Rahane then pushes a length delivery towards deep extra-cover and gets three runs. Parvinder Awana was brought into the attack in the third over and Nayar smashed a full delivery high over long-on for a six. Nayar then hit one towards George Bailey at mid-on and Rahane took off from the bowler’s end. Bailey threw and got a direct hit and Rahane was well short of his crease while trying to come back.

 

Laxmipathy Balaji was the fourth change in four overs as Bailey wanted to keep things fresh. He tried to test Samson with a bouncer, but the Kerala batsman puled it for a huge six over deep mid-wicket. In the next over from Awana, Samson pulled a good length delivery and got a four in the same region. The shot was extra special as there was not much height on it and Samson was quick onto the stroke.

 

Seeing Samson pummel the runs, Nayar targeted Johnson in the sixth over. He first thumped a length delivery straight down the ground for a four. That was a no-ball and the free-hit was pulled in front of mid-wicket for a four. But Nayar’s stay was cut short as Murali Karthik dismissed him LBW for 23 off 20 deliveries while trying to sweep. But Nayar could be termed unlucky as Karthik’s delivery pitched outside leg-stump before hitting the pads.

 

The captain Watson was the next batsman in. He cut a length delivery off Patel behind square on the off side. Samson then thumped one from Karthik straight down the ground for a six. The luck favoured Watson twice in the 10th over bowled by Patel. First, he got a thick inside-edge on a slog-sweep but the ball missed the stumps and went for a four behind the wickets. Then he lofted one towards long-on, but David Miller dropped a sitter and the ball trickled over the boundary line for the second four in the over.

 

Watson then got his batting sorted with two clean strikes. He first hit a four off Balaji over extra-cover and then a six straight down the ground. It was almost like a competition between the duo as Samson and Watson exchanged fours between themselves in one over from Karthik. Watson then smashed a huge six as well.

 

Awana bowled a relatively better over till the fourth delivery when Watson whipped the ball over deep mid-wicket for a six. He then pulled a full-toss towards the leg side and got a single. That was his half-century in only 28 deliveries. But he was bowled on the next delivery he faced by Patel. The left-arm spinner angled one in and Watson swiped across the line but missed and got bowled.

 

New batsman Stuart Binny came down the track to Karthik and hit a six over long-off. The ball landed on the roof of the stands at the stadium. But he was dismissed by Johnson for 12. He hit one in the air and Miller got under it from long-on. He fluffed with his hands but managed to trap it between his legs as he went down on the ground. He then collected the ball with his hands and claimed the catch. The replays showed that the catch was clean and Binny had to depart.

 

Samson then reached his half-century with a flat-batted six off Awana down the ground. He then backed away on the leg side and tried to hit a yorker on the off side. He missed and got bowled for 52. But that did not stop the flow of runs as Steven Smith got three fours off Balaji in the 18th over. James Faulkner then flat-batted a length delivery from fellow Australian Johnson for a six over long-off.

 

Smith struck a total of five fours in his innings of 27 not out as Rajasthan almost reached 200 runs. Punjab chased down the massive target against Chennai earlier in the IPL. They will be quietly confident to repeating a similar feat.

 

Brief scores:

 

Rajasthan Royals 191 for 5 in 20 overs (Abhishek Nayar 23, Sanju Samson 52, Shane Watson 50, Steven Smith 27*; Akshar Patel 1 for 22, Mitchell Johnson 1 for 29) vs Kings XI Punjab.

 

Full Scorecard

 

Photo Gallery

 

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

 

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

 

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

 

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)