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Same, same but different - Sanju x Parag

Last updated on 24 Mar 2024 | 12:37 PM
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Same, same but different - Sanju x Parag

There are a lot of similarities between Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag which were highlighted in their 93-run stand against Lucknow

Same, same but different… ! 

There are a lot of similarities between Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag. Similar height, similar batting stance, both on their good days would hit more sixes than fours, well suited for the middle overs, similar bat swings, both have an outside chance to make it to India’s T20 World Cup squad, making this IPL quite important for them.

Most of the aforementioned points were not visible in IPL before given Parag was batting down the order. Rajasthan Royals traded out Devdutt Padikkal, making room in their middle order, allowing Parag, after a gigantic domestic season, to bat in the middle order, at number four, the most efficient position for his style of play. 

And guess who was batting at that spot before? Samson, who is more suited for three, but that spot belonged to Padikkal. Padikkal’s ouster moved Samson to three and Parag to four. The duo has batted together only six times before in six seasons, scoring 126 runs between them. 

Today (March 24), against Lucknow Super Giants, batting at their best positions, the two added 93 off 59 balls, underlining the similarities between them. 

The two batted almost throughout the middle overs phase (7-15), joining each other at the start of the sixth over with the partnership coming to an end at the end of the 15th. In between, they slowed down, owing to the sticky nature of the wicket, but with their naturally attacking style of batting, covered up to ensure the start provided by Yashasvi Jaiswal isn’t wasted.

“The wicket was staying very low and was assisting the spinners,” said Parag after Rajasthan’s innings. The spinners came on as soon as Parag was out at the crease. The pair collected only 14 runs in the first three overs (bowled by Krunal Pandya and Ravi Bishnoi). KL Rahul went with pace on, introducing Yash Thakur in the ninth over. And that is when the duo accelerated. 

Parag hammered Thakur’s second ball for a six. Samson pummelled two more by the end of the over, marking a shift in the gears again. In the 11th over, both belted a six each against Bishnoi. 

With both staying true to their characteristics, their partnership garnered more sixes than fours - six sixes and three fours. Both batters hit three sixes each. Samson scored 20 off eight balls against pace and Parag made 21 off nine. Even against spin, they had similar strike rates, Samson 118.2 and Parag 110. Their similar bat swings made it difficult to identify between them at various points. 

“The main goal was to take it [the partnership] deep. Then I could go big early and Sanju bhai could take it deep, which he did,” Parag reflected on their plans while batting together in the mid-innings break. 

Consequently, Parag was out in the 15th over, trying to pull Naveen-ul-Haq in the stands, but became the sixth batter this season to get out right after hitting a six. He scored 43 off 29 balls. Coincidentally, Samson was also on 43 off 29 at that point. 

As per the plan, Samson carried on to make an unbeaten 82 off 52, taking Rajasthan to 193. 

A lot of it also goes down to that Padikkal trade which has already done wonders for Rajasthan in their first game of the season. It has brought Samson and Parag to their preferred spots. They brought in Avesh Khan in the trade deal which has worked well given the injury to Prasidh Krishna. However, it was an anti-climatic end for Padikkal, who was out for a three-ball duck against his former side. 

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