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Riyan Parag and Sanju Samson, India's future No.4 and 5?

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Last updated on 10 Apr 2024 | 06:12 PM
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Riyan Parag and Sanju Samson, India's future No.4 and 5?

In Riyan Parag and Sanju Samson, India might have found their new-age middle-order batters

Sivanum sakthiyum serntha massuda (Together, Sivan and Sakthi are mass)

Ethirthu ninna evanam thoosu da (All are reduced to dust in front of them)

There aren’t too many massy Tamil hits that have garnered the audience's attention, such as Pattu Onnu from the movie Jilla. The fact that one of Mollywood’s superstars, Mohanlal, walked out to join hands with one of Kollywood’s superstars, Vijay, set the stage ablaze. 

A decade later, there was similar excitement when Riyan Parag walked out to join his skipper, Sanju Samson, in the middle. Samson is no stranger to capturing the imagination of the Indian cricketing loyalties, but he has now been joined by one of the hottest talents in the country, Parag. Together, they are like Sivan and Sakthi, and what they do out in the middle is reduce the bowling units to dust in front of them. 

It wasn’t the first time this season that they have walked out to bat, given Rajasthan Royals’ opening pair only averages 22.9, the lowest for any duo that has opened the innings this Indian Premier League (IPL).  

They say everything happens for a reason, and perhaps this happened for the future of Indian cricket. Only twice in this IPL have the duo walked out to bat, and in just two innings, they have left an impression that could go down positively in history. 

When they walked out to stitch up a partnership the first time, Rajasthan were in some trouble at 49/2, with the conditions slightly tricky for batters. It was at their own home, at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. But the partnership had the perfect concoction of sanity and insanity, taking on both spin and pace. 

Until then, the pair had combined to bat six times together, scoring 126 runs between them. But the way they batted, it felt like the duo had always meant to bat together. The duo put on a show in the next 59 balls against Lucknow Super Giants, amassing 93 runs and striking at 157.6. 

Also Read: Same, same but different - Sanju x Parag

On that occasion, they nearly batted out the entirety of the middle overs, with Parag scoring 43 and Samson scoring a monstrous 82. It was no coincidence that Rajasthan went on to win that clash with relative ease. 

“Lightning never strikes at the same place twice”

But on April 10 (Wednesday), lightning struck twice. Rajasthan were yet again in a spot of bother at 42/2, and this time, they were up against the likes of Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, and Mohit Sharma. 

That’s where they stepped up a notch higher and left an indelible mark on everyone. Parag joined Samson in the sixth over of the innings and matched stroke for stroke.

Parag took matters into his own hands with a massive six against Noor Ahmad. He then picked up Rashid’s leggie for a four, followed by another four against Noor. It was almost like he targeted Noor, against whom he scored 33 runs off 17 deliveries. 

From the other end, Samson smashed the leather off Mohit’s bowling with four before Parag launched a scathing assault for a massive six, reaching his half-century in fine fashion. Those four gave Samson the much-needed momentum. In the next few deliveries, he smashed two fours before a crunching shot for a six. 

Together, the duo batted 78 deliveries and scored 130 runs, batting with a strike rate of 166.7, with Parag walking back having scored a 48-ball 76, a knock that consisted of three fours and five sixes. 

What was fascinating about their partnership was how they have taken the attack equally to both spin and pace. Against pace, the duo have struck at 223.5, with 114 off just 51 balls. Meanwhile, against spin, Parag and Samson have been very respectful, with just 109 off 86 deliveries. 

While Parag has struck better against spin (130.8), Samson has ensured that pacers don’t go without punishment, with a strike rate of 215.4. Together, they have ensured the bowling units have been left absolutely gobsmacked. 

The partnership has amassed 223 runs in just two innings, only behind Faf du Plessis-Virat Kohli (249 runs) and Shubman Gill-Sai Sudharsan (242 runs). But when it comes to the strike rate, it is clear as daylight that there’s no other better partnership as consistent as Samson-Parag, who scored at 162.8. 

With Sanju Samson only 29 and Riyan Parag 22, India might have just found their future No.4 and 5.

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