Sanju Samson has hit top gear in IPL 2024

Samson has been consistent in IPL 2024.

Sanju Samson is currently partaking in his 12th IPL season. And in every single season so far, he has showcased some promise. Unfortunately, barring perhaps the 2021 IPL, Samson wasn’t able to convert his immense potential into consistency. At nearly 30 years of age, Samson seems to have finally found himself in a zone. 

The aforementioned line is reaffirmed by his numbers:  486 runs at an average of 60.75 and at a strike rate of 158.31. But is there more to Samson’s batting than just mere numbers? Has he adjusted his batting tempo and played according to different situations of the game? The answer to that question would be a firm ‘Yes’.

Just delve further into some of Samson’s finest efforts to further evaluate his season: 86 versus Delhi Capitals, 71 not out against Lucknow Super Giants or his innings of 69 while facing the Royal Challengers Bengaluru. That inning of 86 itself serves as a microcosm of Samson’s calm countenance. 

In a sizeable chase of 222, Rajasthan Royals had lost Yashasvi Jaiswal up front. Samson, however, didn’t allow the required run-rate to shoot up. He essayed a stream of crunchy shots through the off-side against Khaleel Ahmed. When the spinners, especially Kuldeep Yadav, were introduced, Samson’s thought process changed slightly as he cleverly farmed the strike. 

Despite slowing down a touch in the middle phase of the innings, Samson never lost sight of the required run-rate. In the 12th over, when Kuldeep overstepped, resulting in a no-ball, Samson cashed in by launching the subsequent free-hit delivery into the stands. As soon as Rasikh Salam, the seamer returned to the bowling crease, it was again time to press the top gear. Samson was basically indulging in a game of cat and mouse and winning it. Unfortunately, his valiant effort ended in rather controversial circumstances.

Even in the RCB-RR game that took place last month, Samson calmly went about gathering his runs. In another of those chases, Jaiswal was dismissed early.  RR’s tricky situation was compounded by Jos Buttler, one of the mainstays of the batting unit, not being at his fluent best. In such a scenario, Samson rightly took on the gauntlet of leading from the front by collecting a couple of boundaries off Yash Dayal in the second over. 

The value of those two boundaries was underscored by the point that Buttler had just enough time to gauge the pace of the wicket and get his feel back. Soon, Buttler took advantage of some ordinary bowling by Mayank Dagar and doubled up his strike rate to nearly 200. Simply put, the duo batted in tandem. 

In limited-overs cricket, especially in the shortest format, it is pertinent that the chasing team doesn’t fall far behind the required run-rate. The dot balls simply don’t come back. And that is where Samson has been top-notch during in IPL 2024.

Even when Samson has looked to negotiate through a difficult phase, he has pounced upon any opportunity to play the big shot. It is a clear sign of a batter who has learnt from some of his mistakes in the past and has peaked. The next step is to build an edifice on the strong structure that has been laid out, continue his run of good scores for as long as possible.