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Samson almost does wonders as Punjab prevail in Wankhede drama

Sanju Samson almost pulled Rajasthan Royals from the jaws of defeat with a magnificent century but Punjab Kings held their nerve for four-run victory in yet another last ball thriller of the Indian Premier League on Monday.

At the Wankhede Stadium, fireworks from KL Rahul, Deepak Hooda and Chris Gayle saw Punjab amass 221-6. Samson, on his captaincy debut, almost looked like winning the game single handedly only to miss out on the last ball as Rajasthan finished at 217-7.

The match turned into its head in the 18th over when Punjab, needing 40 from 18, collected 19 runs after Samson smacked Jhye Richardson for two fours and a six in the first three deliveries.

But Riley Meredith put Punjab back in the game dismissing Rahul Tewatia in the first ball of the 19th and gave away just eight runs. Arshdeep Singh conceded two runs in the first three balls of the 20th before Samson struck him for a six leaving five to win from last two.

Samson sent back new Chris Morris in the fifth ball setting up a last ball finish but Arshdeep won the thriller having Samson caught by Hooda at sweeper cover. Samson, who completed his 100 off 54 balls, was out for a 63-ball 119 that included 12 fours and seven sixes.

Punjab lost Mayank Agarwal (14) early in the third over before Rahul got involved in three crucial partnerships that pushed them towards a mammoth total. Franchise Twenty20 Universe Boss Chris Gayle did the bulk of scoring smashing a 28-ball 40 in his 67-run stand with Rahul.

Gayle hit four boundaries and two sixes before falling prey to Riyan Parag. Deepak Hooda stepped in and hit Rajasthan bowlers all over the ground with a quickfire 64 off just 28 balls. 52 of his runs came from boundaries as he stroked six sixes and four boundaries.

Rahul was out in the final over to debutant Chetan Sakariya who impressed with a 3-31. Rahul, who share 105 runs for the third wicket with Hooda, made 91 off 50 balls with seven fours and five sixes.

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