Rajasthan Royals surprised many as they produced a scintillating effort chasing the target of 222 runs against Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 campaign.
However, the match did produce a debatable incident when Samson, needing 5 runs from 2 balls, denied his non-striking partner Chris Morris a single on the penultimate ball of the match. The Royals’ Director of Cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, has reacted to the controversy.
Morris had not looked in the finest of touches with the bat till then but had only faced 4 deliveries, scoring 2 runs. The South African all-rounder remains the costliest player to have been purchased in the auction (INR 16.5 crore) but his first match in the RR shirt hadn’t gone as per plan yet.
Facing Arshdeep, Samson hit the ball towards the extra-cover region but the shot only guaranteed a single. Morris ran towards Samson was but sent back after crossing the halfway line. The Proteas cricketer didn’t look pleased and there were a few confused faces in the Rajasthan dressing room too.
Sangakkara, however, felt that Samson’s decision was right even though it didn’t produce the desired result.
“I think Sanju backed himself to get the job done and he nearly did,” Sangakkara said at the post-match press conference. “He was five or six yards short of hitting the last ball for a six and sometimes when you know you’re hitting the ball well and you’re in form and you believe that you can do it, you’ve got to take that responsibility. And it was really encouraging to see Sanju do that.
“We can always talk about a missed single here or there but the crucial thing for me is the players’ belief in attitude and commitment and they know what their strengths are. And Sanju took it upon himself to finish that game and he just fell a few yards short. That happens, but the next time I’ll believe he’ll hit it that 10 yards further to win us the game,” he added.
There was a small debate in the commentary box during the match too. Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull couldn’t understand why Samson had denied Morris a single while Indian cricket icon Sunil Gavaskar felt that Morris hadn’t done enough for Samson to have confidence in him.
“My goodness. My goodness. He’s turned the run down, Sanju Samson,” Doull said in commentary. I don’t believe what I’ve just seen, because at least Morris can hit a four for the win,” said Doull.
Gavaskar responded saying: “He can but so far he hasn’t. His strike rate at the moment is just 50. He’s just managed two singles (from four balls).”
Fans and experts can continue debating over the incident but there’s practically no way of knowing what would’ve happened if Morris had completed that single. It would be interesting to see what Samson does if a similar situation arrives again soon. (Times of India)