All three of Sanju Samson’s best scores this season have seen the team fail. The team lost the first match of the tournament by 119 runs when they were bowled out for 5 off the last ball.
When the match came to a halt in the UAE, Sanju put up two smashing innings but the team lost both the matches.
In the absence of Jose Butler and Ben Stokes, substitutes Evin Lewis and Liam Livingston have not been able to make a significant contribution. Evin Lewis gave some hope in the first match after arriving in the UAE but did not play in the second match. In the third match, the player was quickly eliminated.
At the same time, Liam Livingston, the current greatest player in T20 cricket, lost all three matches.
Sanju Samson is a strong man with bulging biceps and broad shoulders. But he’s not strong enough to carry the Rajasthan Royals batting alone all the time. When the captain is in his elements, Rajasthan post healthy totals, and when he’s not, they collapse in a heap.
More than anyone, Samson is aware of this reality. Rajasthan’s batting was powerful when Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were around, and they had put several famed IPL attacks to sword. In their absence, Samson has to carry the batting. Alone.
Evin Lewis and Liam Livingstone had a hot streak in The Hundred in England, but they could not recreate the form in IPL 2021. As a result, Samson has to shoulder the responsibility of keeping Rajasthan afloat.
He’s fully aware that his early dismissal would result in below-par scores for Rajasthan. So Samson is forced to curb his attacking instincts in the middle overs to provide the momentum in the slog overs. We saw that in the last two matches when Samson struck an unbeaten 70 against the Delhi Capitals and an 82 in the Sunrisers Hyderabad game.
But then that’s not his game. Samson loves to ride his luck and blast sixes around the stadium. The audacious strokeplay has brought him hordes of supporters, especially from his home state of Kerala. But there’s an inherent flaw. Such aggression is fraught with inconsistency. That’s a whip Samson’s critics use to lash him. That’s also the reason for his sporadic appearances in Indian colours.
He scored 70 not out off 53 balls against Delhi while he scored 82 off 57 balls against Sunrisers yesterday. With no significant performance from other Rajasthan batsmen, the batting mission was seen to be on Sanju’s shoulders only.
Yashaswi Jaiswal is the only young Indian to give hope. Although Mahipal Lomror has been supporting the team with small cameos, Sanju will be relieved when a big innings comes from these two players.
While Sanju scored 70 against Delhi, no other batsman has scored more than 20 runs. Chasing 155, the team managed only 121 runs. Rajasthan won the first match of the second edition against Punjab but lost all but two of their later matches to Sanju.
At the same time, Sanju’s inability to score big shots in the last three overs against Sunrisers also prevented the team from reaching the big score. Sanju chased down Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul in the last over and gave the Sunrisers just 18 runs in the last three overs.
Rajasthan’s hopes have not been dashed, but the team is looking to the captain for help in qualifying for the play – offs. Sanju has no one to help her.
Other players, including Ryan Parag and Rahul Thewatia, have been unable to pull off previous seasons’ performances.