A massive debate has erupted in cricket circles after an interesting ending to the IPL 2021 clash between the Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals overnight.
The Royals were chasing Punjab's target of 221 with captain Sanju Samson and high-profile signing Chris Morris at the crease, needing 13 runs from the final over.
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Morris became the most expensive player in IPL history earlier this year when he was signed by the Royals for roughly $2.9 million, but he had only faced three balls for a single.
Sampson, who'd smashed 112 runs from 53 balls by that point, had the strike.
A dot ball and two singles later, Samson smashed a six from the fourth ball of the over to leave the Royals needing five runs from the final two balls.
The Royals captain batted the next ball down to long-off, but stayed stock still in his crease even as Morris run for the quick single - sending the high-priced recruit back to the non-strikers end with the equation a six or bust from the final ball.
The move prompted quizzical looks from the Royals' bench, while Morris himself seemed perplexed.
Samson was unable to hit the match-winning six, caught on the boundary line from Punjab quick Arshdeep Singh's final ball.
Commentator and former New Zealand bowler Simon Doull was shocked by the call to send Morris back, which would have seen the Royals able to tie the game with a four or win with a six.
“My goodness. My goodness. He’s turned the run down, Sanju Samson,” Doull said.
“I don’t believe what I’ve just seen, because at least Morris can hit a four for the win.”
Co-host Sunil Gavaskar foreshadowed some of the debate that would follow, pointing out that Morris was yet to truly threaten the bowling attack.
“He can (hit a boundary) but so far he hasn’t. His strike rate at the moment is just 50. He’s just managed two singles.”
Debate erupts over Sanju Sampson's captain's call
The thrilling end to the IPL clash prompted an interesting debate among cricket die-hards - was the captain right to back himself after smacking a ton, or was it better to give their high-priced recruit a chance to play the percentages?
New Zealand star Jimmy Neesham said he could see it both ways as he discussed the match on Twitter, declaring there was ultimately 'no wrong answer'.
“It’s whether you think Samson is more likely to hit a 6 than Morris is to hit 4 or 6. The way Samson was hitting it I can see why he would have confidence in himself,” he wrote.
“No wrong answer really.”
Former Indian player Sanjay Manjrekar said Samson was right to back himself given his efforts throughout the evening.
"Greater possibility of Samson hitting a six in that form than new batsman in Morris hitting a four," he said.
"Right call by Samson to keep strike last ball I thought.”
ESPN Cricinfo's Sidharth Monga also said Sampson's logic was on the money.
"If Samson takes the single, he leaves Morris, who is not looking in great touch in his two off four balls, needing a four to tie the match," he wrote.
"Royals are in this tight spot because Morris has missed a slot ball last ball of the penultimate over and then hit a full toss straight to extra cover for one in this over. Samson knows that he is likelier to hit a six than Morris is to hit a four.”
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