Hyderabad: Rajasthan Royals rode Sanju Samson's brilliant unbeaten hundred to post 198/2 in 20 overs against Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game here on Friday.
Samson, 102 (not out) off 55 balls, scored the first century of this edition's IPL and his second in the competition as skipper Ajinkya Rahane also cracked a half century (70; 49b; 4x4; 3x6) to help the hosts recover from a slow start. The pair added 119-run stand for the second wicket.
Samson, who brought up his ton in the 20th over by hitting Bhuvneshwar Kumar for a four, made the most of a reprieve when he was dropped by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow on 58 in the 17th over to smash the same bowler for 24 runs in the next over (6-4-4-2-4-4).
In the last over, Ben Stokes (16 not out off 9) came to the party by smacking Bhuvneshwar for two successive fours to get the home team close to 200-run mark. Samson and Stokes associated for a 64-run third wicket partnership off just 25 balls.
Bhuvneshwar (0/55), known to be a specialist death bowler, went for 43 runs in his last two overs as Royals scored 72 runs in the last four overs hitting 13 boundaries.
Royals lost Jos Buttler (5) early when the in-form England batsman tried to sweep Rashid Khan (1/24) and lost his leg stumps in the process.
Rahane and Samson then took time to get going as the visitors could only manage 35/1 in the first six overs.
Samson hit Shahbaz Nadeem and Siddarth Kaul for consecutive sixes in the next two overs as he tried to change gears with Rahane dropping anchor.
At the halfway mark, Royals were 75/1 with both batsmen trying to up the ante. Rahane and Samson hit two fours in the 11th over off Kaul and in the next took on Vijay Shankar to collect 13 runs.
Rahane clipped the India all-rounder for a maximum over the long leg boundary while Samson drilled a slower one over extra cover. Rahane brought his fifty in the first ball of the 13th over, picking a single off Rashid while Samson dragged Sandeep
Sharma to deep midwicket to bring up his half century in the next over.
Looking to score big in the last overs, Rahane decided to take on Nadeem and crunched him over deep extra cover for a six in the first ball of the 16th over. But Nadeem had the last laugh as the India Test vice captain holed out to Manish Pandey at long on trying to clear the boundary in the last ball.
Samson took over from there and after getting a second life, went berserk.
However Samson, was left high and dry as Sunrisers completed their highest ever run chase.