Sanju Samson's breathtaking strokeplay formed the cornerstone of Rajasthan Royals' 19-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring IPL encounter in Bengaluru on Sunday. Riding on Samson's 45-ball-92, Rajasthan Royals posted a competitive 217 for 4 on a batting belter and then managed to restrict the home team to 198 for 6, earning their second victory in three games.
Put into bat by RCB skipper, Samson sent the bowlers on a leatherhunt hitting as many as 10 sixes and two fours. The Kerala-born scored his half-century off 34 balls, showing one and all why he is so highly rated by India A coach Rahul Dravid. In Jos Buttler (23 off 14), Samson found an able partner as they put on 73 runs in just 37 balls. Umesh Yadav after his 'man of the match' effort against KXIP was completely off colour going for 59 runs in 4 wicketless overs. The last three overs yielded 60 runs for the Royals.
RCB, on the otherhand, slumped to their second defeat in three games despite skipper Virat Kohli (57 off 30 balls)'s first half-century of this edition. It was 'local boy ' Shreyas Gopal who removed a rampaging Kohli in the 11th over to turn the match decisively in his team's favour. Kohli's pull shot was taken at deep mid-wicket by D Arcy Short, who timed his jump to perfection.
Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, who plays Ranji Trophy for Karnataka, then silenced his 'home crowd' knocking out AB de Villiers, whose poorly executed pull-shot was snapped by Jaydev Unadkat at deep square leg. Washington Sundar (35 off 19 balls) and Mandeep Singh (47 no off 25 balls) added 66 runs for the fifth wicket but they were left with an uphill task as the asking rate kept on mounting.
Royals' all-rounder Ben Stokes conceded only 12 runs in the penultimate over and removed Sundar to end the home side's challenge. In the final over, Ben Laughlin gave away only 16 runs.