SRH Vs RR: Warner, Rashid steal the Samson spotlight
“They paid a hefty price for whatever they did, now time to welcome them back to the showdown” was the buzz before this game as Warner and Smith took the ground both trying to make a statement to the Oz selectors who already face a heinous task in front of them with whatever Finch, Khwaja, Marsh, Handscomb and now Maxwell have done to launch them in the spotlight for the team to the Mega event of ’em all. When RR decided to bat siting the wicket to be on a slower side, Butler and Rahane started cautiously. Williamson straight away turned to the Pathan from Afghanistan and since he is not allowed to have an off day for all the we know, Butler had to have an off one, a sight rare in it’s own way in the IPL. It was suddenly Samson with Rahane to take the charge and they started stitching together partnership that went onto each of them getting to their 50’s. Rahane, in trying to accelerate the scoring, perished and it was Stokes who was sent in to repeat the heroics he did with RPS back in 2017. But Samson stole all the spotlight. Wrists. Every batsman has them. Almost no one weaponises them to the extent that Sanju Samson did in the most spectacular over of the match – the 18th of Royals’ innings, bowled by Bhuvneshwar. The serenely-struck six over long off first ball was glorious enough, but it was Samson’s four fours square on the offside that were the gems that studded his innings. Bhuvneshwar didn’t do a lot wrong, really. All four of those deliveries were very nearly yorker length, and they weren’t too far wide of off stump. Samson, though, kept getting low and carving them majestically, either side of point. So graceful was he, the shots brought to mind the artistry of a VVS Laxman or Mahela Jayawardene. The fours came two at a time during a stretch of five deliveries. With a legside two breaking up that sequence, Samson reaped 24 from the over, and although Royals seemed destined for a score of about 180 for the majority of their innings, that over put something closer to 200 in their sights. “He makes brutality look so elegant and shows the world how to keep the strike rate of a proper T20 batsman by playing like a proper conventional batsman” is how his innings can be described. Samson, who somehow finds his elegant best in the IPL, got to his century and gave RR a total which was 40-50 in excess of what they would have expected at the start. But You never write off SRH who have their elite Warner to start with a go at the opponent. Chasing 199, David Warner came out all guns blazing. He scored his 38th IPL fifty off just 26 balls and all that came when the team total read 60/0. At no point during his knock did he look rusted and that Orange army, 45000 of them kept chanting his name to get him going. Warner and Hyderabad are a love story to cherish at the IPL. Bairstow was struggling to time the ball, but with time he upped the ante too. Stokes bowled a fiery spell, should have had both set batsmen in the same over, but Kulkarni caught only one. But Kulkarni returned to take a stunning catch to dismiss Bairstow. Vijay Shankar was such a treat to watch with his lofted hits and his blitz ensured SRH had this under control despite a few wickets in the end. Having lost two back to back wickets, it looked like thriller time but hey with Rashid khan around(who of course does not have those bad days), there is only one outcome, which didn’t look as evident when Archer started his defence with 4 stunning yorkers but Rashid sending the last two past the ropes, one with his timing, two with his mini helicopter to get SRH off the mark in fine style. As much as You look, this game was won by Warner, who took the game away in the first 10 overs itself and all that others had to do was not to choke. Taking nothing away from Sanju Samson though whose innings were one of the better ones to have been witnessed in the IPL history, RR still have a lot of thinking to do in terms of their allrounders who haven’t really peaked and their bowlers barring Archer who have been toothless for a better part of the two games. SRH are up and running and await an injured RCB at their fort to look to continue their good run.