Sanju Samson scored a 63-ball 119. (PTI Photo)

SANJU SAMSON led from the front with a blazing century on his captaincy debut but failed to take Rajasthan Royals over the line as Punjab Kings clinched a thrilling four-run win in an IPL 2021 match in Mumbai on Monday (13).

The run-chase went deep with Rajasthan needing five off the last two balls. Samson turned down a single off the fifth ball with Chris Morris at the other end, before getting dismissed off the last delivery, caught in the deep. His brilliant 63-ball 119 with 12 fours and seven sixes had almost won the game for his team.

Punjab’s 221 for 6 seemed less and the two dropped catches of Samson before he reached his fifty also didn’t help KL Rahul-led team defending the total.

Rajasthan needed 13 off the last over bowled by left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh. Samson brought down the target to five off two balls with a six. But Singh held his nerves well to remove Samson and finish with impressive figures of 3 for 45 as Rajasthan were left stranded at 217 for 7.

Earlier, after put in to bat, Rahul and Deepak Hooda (64) ensured Punjab put up a big total on the board. Rajasthan’s expensive signing Chris Morris conceded 41 off four overs before getting Hooda and Nicholas Pooran in his last over.

Bangladesh’s left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rehman gave away 45 runs without any wicket as Samson used eight bowlers.

Rahul and Hooda put up a 105-run stand with the Punjab captain hitting seven fours and five sixes. Hooda hit six sixes and four boundaries in his quickfire knock off just 28 balls.

Rahul looked set for his well-deserved century but fell to Chetan Sakariya, caught at the midwicket boundary for 91 in the last over. In a high-scoring game, Sakariya finished with impressive figures of 3 for 31.