Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar could not contain his disappointment after RR captain Sanju Samson (21 off 18 balls) failed to fire with the bat during his team's dispiriting ten-wicket loss against RCB in the 16th match of IPL 2021.
While the talented wicketkeeper batsman started the tournament with a back-to-the-wall century in the heartbreaking loss to PBKS, Sanju has been unable to utilize his form and has managed to score only 26 runs in three games since then.
Exasperated by Sanju Samson's inconsistent ways with the bat, Sunil Gavaskar identified it as being one of the reasons behind his inability to cement his place in India's national squad. Speaking on Star Sports, Gavaskar said:
"First and foremost, the captain (Sanju Samson) has to stand up and deliver. He did it in the first game but that has been the problem with him. One of the reasons why he has not been featuring in the Indian team is that he scores runs in one game and then he looks to do it and carry on as if he’s batting in the next game from the same game, and that's how he keeps getting out."
Having watched his top order collapse to 18/3 after being put into bat by RCB skipper Virat Kohli, Sanju Samson failed to rescue his team despite looking good in his 18-ball stay in the middle.
What was even more disappointing was Sanju's dismissal came just after he had thrashed a glorious six after charging down the track to Washington Sundar's first ball.
But the next delivery by Sundar was just a tad bit shorter and stopped on the pitch even as Sanju Samson only managed to offer a tame catch to Glenn Maxwell at short mid-wicket.
Sanju Samson has to fire as RR don't have any finishers: Sunil Gavaskar
Notwithstanding their skipper's early dismissal, Shivan Dube (46 off 32 balls) and Rahul Tewatia (40 off 23 balls) counterattacked and strung together enough partnerships lower down the order to take them to a respectable 177-9.
However, a target below 200 was never going to be enough on a flat Wankhede wicket, and RCB hunted down the score without any casualties as Devdutt Padikkal's graceful century (101* off 52 balls) in the company of skipper Kohli (72* off 47 balls) made it four wins out of four matches for the Bengaluru-based franchise.
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Pointing out the lack of finishers in the team, Sunil Gavaskar said it was imperative for Sanju Samson to lead by example if RR are to challenge the top teams in the coming games of IPL 2021.
"I think if the captain leads by example, the captain scores runs because he is the one class act in the team… yes there is David Miller, there is Chris Morris who can come in and smash a few but at the top of the order, they need to get it right because what happens is that they have a little problem at No 5, 6 and 7.
"They (RR) don't really have any finishers and that is the reason it is so important that the captain at the top of the order gets you lots of runs," concluded Sunil Gavaskar.
RR's third loss of the tournament in four games so far has left them with just two points and at the bottom of the points table IPL 2021 due to their low net run-rate.
The Sanju Samson-led side's next challenge is on April 24th against Eoin Morgan's struggling KKR, who've also managed to win just one of their first four matches.