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Rajasthan Royals' captain Sanju Samson in action during the Indian Premier League cricket match against Lucknow Super Giants at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Jaipur: Sanju Samson led from the front as Rajasthan Royals defeated Lucknow Super Giants by 20 runs in their opening match of the Indian Premier League on Sunday.

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Captain Samson hammered an unbeaten 82 off 52 balls to steer inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan to 193-4 after they elected to bat first in Jaipur.

Rajasthan’s New Zealander quick Trent Boult then struck two early blows to rattle the Lucknow batting, which finished on 173-6 despite an unbeaten 64 by West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran.

Lucknow, who made the play-offs in the last two seasons since their debut alongside Gujarat Titans in 2022, lost regular wickets but skipper KL Rahul attempted to keep the chase on track in his 44-ball 58 despite his slow start.

The left-handed Pooran then took charge and along with Rahul put on 85 runs for the fifth wicket but the asking rate kept climbing.

Rahul fell to Sandeep Sharma after his fifty and Marcus Stoinis’s departure left Pooran with a lot in the final few overs.

Samson remained the hero as he took on the opposition attack and built key partnerships including a 93-run third-wicket stand with Riyan Parag, who made 43.

Six sixes

Samson hit six sixes on a pitch with variable bounce where Lucknow bowlers took a beating except Krunal Pandya, who returned figures of 0-19.

The Rajasthan innings witnessed a nearly 10-minute halt in the first over when a cable of the spidercam broke as technicians scurried to sort out the wires on the field.