Resurgent Samson Carries Weight Of RR’s Non-performing Middle Order

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Resurgent Samson carries weight of RR's non-performing middle order. Samson is leading the run charts this season in the IPL.

Resurgent Samson Carries Weight Of RR’s Non-performing Middle OrderSamson is leading the run charts this season in the IPL.

“Silkiness of ease about the shots that Samson plays,” said Ian Bishop after the Rajasthan Royals captain had struck his first boundary, cutting to the right of point. Samson was just getting into the groove of his innings against SRH after a subdued start, once again finding himself in the middle very early in the innings. He took on the onus to make it count and his record is evidence of how much he loves batting against SRH, averaging 41 before this game with a century.

The surface in Dubai was the same that was used in the game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians a day before. Samson would've kept the shorter boundary in mind, but made no apparent attempt to exploit it in particular with the runs in his knock of 82 coming all over the park.

The first 30 balls that Samson faced against SRH were at a strike-rate of 106.7. The next 27 balls, at 185.19, in his stellar 57-ball 82. Samson had reached his fifty off 41 balls, which was his equal slowest in the IPL, but it was the ease with which he switched gears in the latter half of his innings that brought on show the gamut of Samson's play.

That said, it wasn't enough to usurp the struggling Sunrisers who brought out their best game for a seven-wicket win. SRH's second win this season once again denied RR the chance to break into the top four. It was also the second time in two games that Samson led from the front with a tall score, but bumbling batting from the other batsmen had them finish on the wrong side of the result. A major cause of vexation when it came to Samson was the inconsistency that hasn't seen him being rewarded. However, his concerted effort to make a change has borne fruit this season with scores of 119, 4, 1, 21, 42, 42, 48, 4, 70* and 82, which has powered him to the top of the charts of the highest run-getters.

Samson may be among the runs, but his highest scores – 119, 82 and 70* – have come in losing causes for RR this season, underlining the dearth of contributions from the others. While RR's trio in Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya and Kartik Tyagi have impressed collectively with the bowling pack, runs from the batsmen have been sporadic. Yashasvi Jaiswal has got starts, but has failed to convert them to anything substantial, as has been the case with Mahipal Lomror.

Against Delhi Capitals in a modest chase of 155, the Royals only could manage 121. Samson remained unbeaten on 70, but no other batsman went past 20. Against SRH on Monday (September 27), Samson got his second successive fifty, but once again the lack of a collective batting effort meant RR once again ended up at least 20 short and paid the price for it.

Samson once again was carrying the weight of his non-performing middle order. Lomror kept him company with a 28-ball 29, but Liam Livingstone fell for 4, while Riyan Parag for a first-ball duck. Rahul Tewatia faced only one ball, while Chirs Morris didn't even get a bat. But he wasn't complaining. He was putting to execution a new feature of his batting, a distinctive feature, unlike that seen in the past, of getting his eye in, rather than attempting to take on the bowling from the outset.

RR scored 49 runs in the powerplay and 84 in the middle 10 overs – a phase in which Samson targeted the bowling. Anything short and with width, or in the slot, he punished. He even attacked SRH's best bowler Rashid Khan, to effortlessly loft him over wide long-off, eventually scoring 16 runs in 12 balls against the legspinner. Siddharth Kaul bore the brunt of Samson's blade in the 16th, when he was clobbered for two sixes and a four in the over as Samson had switched gears. He couldn't cash in on the final two overs where SRH conceded just 11, which could've made a difference.

The loss means RR are still in the midst of the mid-table muddle, tied with three others on 8 points. After the fortunate turn of events against PBKS three games ago, they've slipped to comprehensive losses. If they are to make the play-offs, the squad will need take a leaf out of their skipper's book on consistency. But for now, Samson is on his own.

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