IPL 2024: Samson stars in Rajasthan’s win over Lucknow

Captain Sanju Samson showcased leadership from the front, delivering an unbeaten 82 runs to guide former champions Rajasthan Royals to a confident 20-run victory over Lucknow Super Giants in their IPL 2024 opener, held at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Sunday.
Samson’s innings, a 52-ball knock, was marked by six powerful sixes and three fours, dominating the ground with spectacular hits across all directions.His performance was pivotal, providing both momentum and stability to the Royals after facing early setbacks in the Powerplay.
Supported by Riyan Parag, who contributed 43 runs, the duo formed a solid 93-run partnership for the third wicket, bolstering the Royals’ batting lineup in their inaugural match.
Although Lucknow Super Giants, despite a shaky start at 11/3, fought back through KL Rahul‘s 58 and Nicholas Pooran’s unbeaten 64, their efforts only managed to narrow down the defeat margin while chasing a formidable target of 194.
Rahul, making a comeback to top-flight cricket, showcased his prowess with a composed fifty, scoring 58 off 44 balls, including four fours and two sixes. Additionally, he kept wickets for the full 20 overs, dispelling any doubts regarding his fitness following a quadriceps injury.
Pooran, alongside Rahul, exhibited resilience against the opposition, smashing four sixes and as many fours in his 41-ball 64, prolonging the match as much as possible. However, Rajasthan ultimately secured the victory, claiming the two points.
Lucknow faced a tumultuous beginning as the Rajasthan Royals’ overseas left-arm pairing of Trent Boult (2/35) and debutant Nandre Burger (1/30), stepping in as an impact substitute, inflicted early damage.
In an attempt to clear the ropes off Boult’s delivery wide of the leg stump, Quinton de Kock found Burger perfectly positioned for the catch, resulting in a straightforward dismissal.
Boult continued his assault in the following over, striking Devdutt Padikkal (0) on the helmet with a short ball before sending the next one crashing into the middle stump, dislodging it from the ground.
Ayush Badoni (1) then handed an easy catch to Jos Buttler at mid-on off Burger, leaving Lucknow reeling at 11 for three within the first four overs.
Deepak Hooda, substituting for Lucknow, initiated a recovery, but the mounting required run rate forced risky strokes.
Hooda’s aggressive stance yielded a brisk 13-ball 26, adorned with two sixes and two fours, before falling while attempting to clear the ropes against Yuzvendra Chahal, having stitched a crucial 49-run partnership with Rahul for the fourth wicket.
With pressure mounting, Rahul spearheaded Lucknow’s resurgence alongside Pooran, constructing an 85-run partnership for the fifth wicket, reigniting hopes of victory.
Despite the escalating run rate, Rahul and Pooran opted for calculated aggression, selectively targeting bowlers.
Rahul’s assault on Burger in the 11th over yielded 17 runs, while Pooran unleashed two sixes and a four off Boult in the 13th, accumulating 13 runs.
However, Sandeep Sharma (1/22) disrupted Lucknow’s momentum, dismissing Rahul, leaving them with 38 runs to chase in the final two overs.
The game’s fate was sealed in the penultimate over as Sandeep conceded only 11 runs, despite a missed opportunity by Parag to dismiss Pooran.
(With PTI inputs)

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