An inspiring innings from Sanju Samson guided Rajasthan to a 16-run victory over Chennai on Tuesday; their eighth win over the three-time Indian T20 League champions in 22 games.
Riding on the back of a 121-run stand between captain Steve Smith and Sanju Samson, Rajasthan posted 216 on board following the final-over carnage by Jofra Archer. Chennai made a glaring start with the bat, but slumped from being 56/1 to 77/4 inside just two overs.
There were several things to take note of from the game, including Rahul Tewatia’s three-wicket haul and Faf de Plessis’ yet another majestic innings. That said, here we take a look at what we learned from Rajasthan’s first triumph over Chennai in three attempts.
Samson is Rajasthan’s trump card
While captain Steve Smith led from the front, Sanju Samson yet again delivered a performance of a lifetime, scoring a quickfire 74 off 32 deliveries which included a whopping nine sixes and a boundary. Rajasthan were 10/1 after three overs and with both Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler absent, they were in a dire need of a strong partnership to set the stage for the batsmen to come. On came Samson and opened the floodgates, scoring 78.38 percent of runs just from the boundaries.
Prior to this game, the 25-year-old had scored a measly 79 runs in seven innings against Chennai, with his highest being 26. He was equally impressive even with the gloves, having played part in as many as four wickets (two stumpings and as many catches).
Once Stokes and Buttler are back, all eyes will be set on Rajasthan’s famed foreign contingent, but keep an eye on Samson in the midst. Expect him to be his side’s silent assassin.
Bad day in store for Ngidi and Chawla
After an exhilarating display in the opening game, a lot was expected from pacer Lungi Ngidi and Piyush Chawla. Chawla, the 31-year-old Aligarh-born leggie, who picked his 151st Indian T20 League wicket on Saturday, becoming the third-highest wicket-taker in Indian T20 League’s history, was fairly economical against Mumbai, but all that changed on Tuesday. Chawla gave 28 runs in his first overs, that included four sixes, and his figure went up to 47 after two overs. He did scalp a wicket on the night, but that came at an expense of a hefty economy rate of 13.75.
Ngidi, for his part, conceded runs at 9.50 against Mumbai, but a return of three wickets all but overshadowed the leak. Against Rajasthan, he not only gave away runs at 14.00 but also returned with a solitary wicket. Not to forget the last over fiasco where he conceded a whopping 30 runs; the joint-most expensive 20th over in the Indian T20 League.
Sam Curran is the real deal
It was the usual notion that Chennai would dearly miss their star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo in their opening game against Mumbai, but little did everybody know what England’s Sam Curran was about to deliver. He may have only picked a solitary wicket while conceding 28 runs against the defending champions, but his scalp came at a crucial point. With the bat, the young 22-year-old smashed 18 off just six as Chennai registered their first victory of the tournament.
On Tuesday, all eyes were on Curran and it is safe to say he didn’t disappoint. While every other bowler was hit across the park, the 22-year-old conceded 33 in his four overs, the second-best figure for Chennai on the night, and notched three wickets, that of Steve Smith, Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag.
Curran showed sheer confidence even with the bat, opening his innings with a boundary and two back-to-back maximums before being dismissed in the ninth over. His judgements, especially with the bat, may not be of the highest order, but the youngster has rightfully lived up to his potential even in the pressure moments. And with Bravo still out on the nursing table, Chennai are well and truly in safe hands.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / Rajasthan