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Speaking afterwards, a delighted Samson said, “I am very happy about this day. It's one of the special days of my life.”
He also spoke of his ambitions to represent India regularly, having emerged from a disappointing couple of years with a bang.
“If you want to get into it [the Indian team], you have to be something special, you have to do something special. So I'm happy that I played one innings but there's a long way to go," Samson added.
The 22-year-old Keralan star also lavished praised on Delhi coach Rahul Dravid, saying he felt “blessed” to be working with the legendary Indian batsman.
In case you didn’t know…
Sanju first emerged onto the big stage back in 2013 at the tender age of 18, when he announced himself in that season’s IPL with a 63-run blitz against Royal Challengers Bangalore as a Rajasthan Royal.
However, the road to success has been a bumpy one for Samson, who slipped backwards following 2015, the year he represented India – in a T20I versus Zimbabwe – for the first time. As the runs dried up, attention turned to the youngster’s temperament.
Prior to this year’s IPL, Samson produced an unspectacular form for Kerala in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, although his form picked up late on, with two half-centuries in his final three games.
After opener Aditya Tare was out for a duck, Samson was at the crease against Pune as early as the second over. In the next 17 overs, he smacked eight sixes and five fours, accumulating 102, before being bowled by Adam Zampa on his 63rd delivery.
But Samson’s innings, complemented by a phenomenal late assault from South Africa’s Chris Morris – 38 not out in 9 balls – hoisted Delhi to an imposing 205 for 4. Pune never challenged the target, as Zaheer Khan rolled back the years with 3 for 20, accounting for both of the Supergiant’s openers. The hosts were eventually bowled out for a mere 108 in 16.1 overs.
Delhi will take to the field next on April 15 for their first home game of IPL 2017 against the impressive Kings XI Punjab. Pune will have a chance to bounce back from their hammering versus the Daredevils on April 14, when they play Gujarat Lions in Rajkot.
This knock was the perfect way for Samson to re-establish himself on the big stage as one of India’s hottest young batting prospect. The Daredevil executed expertly, admittedly against a torrid Pune bowling attack, save for Imran Tahir.
Samson’s innings also helped Delhi put behind a frustrating opening game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, where they fell to a 15-run defeat in a scrappy encounter. Combined with the exciting young Rishabh Pant and fiery Morris, Delhi’s batting looks increasingly solid going forward.