Bengaluru, April 13: Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson scored the first century of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season.
Sanju, who was making his debut as Royals skipper made a breathtaking 119 off 63 balls, but his efforts went in vain as his team went down to the KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings by four runs in the last ball of Match 4 of IPL 2021 played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Sanju's innings contained seven sixes and 12 fours and so confident he was of taking his team home that he refused a single to Chris Morris on penultimate ball of the game when Royals needed five runs off two balls.
The Royals had chased down 224 to beat the same opponents in Sharjah last year, and it seemed Sanju was steering his team to another sensational run chase.
After turning down the chance to run on the penultimate delivery, the right-handed batsman was only able to carve Arshdeep Singh out to the fielder at deep cover, meaning he was dismissed for 119 as his team came up just short.
Jos Buttler (25), Shivam Dube (23) and Riyan Parag (25) all made contributions in support of Sanju as Royals failed in the last hurdle.
They next take on Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals at the same venue on Thursday (April 15) while the Punjab Kings will lock horns with the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings a day later.
For the Royals, left-arm pace bowler Chetan Sakariya also impressed, marking his IPL debut with 3-31 while also claiming a stunning catch.
Speaking to the broadcasters after the match, a dejected Samson said, "I don't have words to explain my feelings. Would have loved to finish it off for my team. I don't think I could have done better than that.
"I thought I timed it well for a six but somehow.. Catches go down and good catches were also taken. It's part of the game," rued the Royals skipper.