SANJU Samson hit the first century of the new season of the Indian Premier League, but it wasn’t enough for the Rajasthan Royals to beat Punjab Kings.
Samson, bowled by Arshdeep Singh, needed five of the last ball to complete the Royals’ hunt of 222 in Mumbai.
But Samson was caught in deep extra cover to fall for 119 and give Punjab a four run win.
The Kings were lifted to 221-6 by 91 by KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda at 64 and 40 by Chris Gayle.
The amazing game had echoes of when the Royals chased 224 to beat Punjab – later known as Kings XI Punjab – to set the record for the highest IPL chase in Sharjah last September.
On that occasion, Samson made 85 out of 42 balls.
Here, he took advantage of being dropped at 12, 35 and reversed put out lbw on 53 to mark his first fight since taking over as captain by Steve Smith for a century.
His pubs looked to illuminate Royals’ poor field display – all of Rahul, Hooda and Gayle, Rahul on 15 were dropped by Ben Stokes and Hooda on 39 by Jos Buttler after mixing with his English counterpart.
Stokes’ tough night continued when he lasted just three deliveries opening the batting before edging Mohammed Shami.
Buttler looked in supreme touch for 25 until he was fooled by a brilliant slower ball of new Punjab singing Jhye Richardson.
Samson, though, displayed incredible power and a clean hit to reach three figures of 54 balls.
He was with Chris Morris – at £ 1.6m the most expensive signing in IPL history – when he needed 13 finalists over.
Eleven three became five of two when Samson struck a glorious six over extra cover.
However, when he failed to find the boundary from the next ball, the singles refused, trusting himself to hit the winning shot.
But 22-year-old left-handed player Arshdeep held his nerve and another Samson loft towards extra cover ended up in the hands of Deepak Hooda. (BBC Sport)