A five-run defeat against Punjab Kings wouldn't have affected the confidence of Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals, believes Sanjay Manjrekar. In their opening fixture of IPL 2021, the Royals couldn't get past the finish line while chasing an intimidating 221-run total at the Wankhede Stadium.
The newly-appointed skipper, Sanju Samson, hammered 119 off 63 balls but his heroics were not enough to seal the win for Royals. Needing five off the last two balls, holed out to deep extra cover as his side fell short by four runs. Samson clobbered seven sixes and 12 fours to take the game to the wire. He also became the first player in the history of the IPL to score a hundred on his captaincy debut.
"Stokes is an internationally acclaimed all-rounder but he hasn't fired in the IPL so far. Hence, Royals wouldn't think that their campaign is over without Stokes. Royals still have Samson and Buttler in their ranks and they're lucky to play their initial games at the Wankhede.
"The biggest challenge against skipper Samson will be to achieve consistency and deliver regardless of the nature of the pitch. We can say that Samson has finally arrived in the IPL if he shows consistency," said Manjrekar in an exclusive chat with India TV.
Manjrekar also opined that the Royals' confidence wasn't hampered after their defeat against Punjab Kings. Royals put up a stiff fight in their opening fixture, with Sanju Samson's splendid ton almost taking them to the victory.
"Royals received a lot of praise for their fightback against Punjab. They, unfortunately, fell short of five runs while chasing an 'impossible' target of 222 runs. The defeat wouldn't have affected their confidence," said the cricketer-turned-commentator.