IPL 2024: Sanju Samson’s thrilling knock with Sandeep Sharma’s heroic death over bowling offer RR a perfect start

Rajasthan Royals (RR) have covered all their bases for this season.

Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Rajasthan Royals (RR) (Image Credits: Twitter)

One of the biggest reasons for the Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) poor season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 was their poor performance at their home venue. At the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, the Royals secured just one victory in five affairs. 

However, in the 17th season of the cash-rich league, they began their campaign on a positive note with a victory over Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). The inaugural champions were under tremendous pressure at the back end of their bowling. With Nicholas Pooran and KL Rahul still at the crease in the 194 chase, needing 50 in four overs didn’t look to be a tough ask. 

However, the RR bowlers held their nerve and bowled on the correct channels to make it hard for the batters. At the end of all ten franchise’s first game of this season, Rajasthan sits at the top of the points table with a net run rate (NRR) of +1.00.  

Let’s take a look at what went right for RR in their opening encounter:

Sandeep Sharma led terrific death over bowling 

Trent Boult and Nandre Burger offered the Royals wickets at the top with the new ball. Lucknow found themselves struggling at 11/3. But Pooran and Rahul’s fine partnership of 85 runs kept them in the hunt. With Marcus Stoinis and Krunal Pandya still under the shades, requiring 50 in 24 balls wasn’t a difficult goal. 

Quite interestingly, Sanju Samson brought Sandeep Sharma in the death overs. At a crucial juncture of the game, he went for just five runs in his opening over, which was the 15th over of the second innings. Just seven runs came in his second over. From the other end, Ravichandran Ashwin allowed just four singles in the 18th over. Sandeep finished with 1/22 in three overs, while Avesh Khan conceded just six runs in the last over, with Pooran still at the crease.  

From being a young powerplay bowler for the Kings XI Punjab (Now Punjab Kings) to a seasoned death ball bowler of the Royals after his special stint with Sunrisers Hyderabad makes him an IPL star.  

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Sanju Samson continued his special season-opening knock

It’s the same story since 2020. Samson starts his IPL season with a bright knock. In the last four opening games of the edition for the Royals, their captain has notched up one century and three fifty-plus scores. 

When he was new to the crease, the Royals were looking to build their innings with the fall of their openers. The Kerala boy stitched up a fine 93-run third wicket stand with Riyan Parag. He didn’t look to smash the ball hard, rather always aimed to time it with perfection. 

The celebration of his 21st IPL fifty described what the franchise meant to him. The six over covers with minimal risk captured the quality he possesses. He looked so calm underneath the helmet and remained at one end till the finish to propel RR over the 190-run mark. 

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Vital contributions from Riyan Parag

There were so many speculations over the place of Riyan Parag in the playing eleven. But the 22-year-old has put so much work in the off-season. In the last Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2023/24, Parag was the top run-getter with 510 runs in 10 games at a strike rate of 182.79. 

When he walked out into the middle, it was a crisis. The lad from Assam put attention on powerful strokes and displayed his power of the bottom hand. His aggressive nature kept the opposition bowlers on their toes, and he played an instrumental role with his 43-run knock. 

The clarity of batting at number 4, and his confidence have helped him in his growing. The Royals will look to stretch their winning momentum when they meet Delhi Capitals on March 27 at the home venue. 

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