Samson's century in vain as Punjab edge Rajasthan in IPL thriller

(Reuters) - Rajasthan Royals' Sanju Samson struck a blistering century in his first match as captain but was unable to prevent Punjab Kings from recording a four-run victory in a high-scoring Indian Premier League (IPL) thriller at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.

Samson, who was named captain before the start of the season, struck 119 off just 63 balls but was dismissed off the final delivery of the innings with his side five runs short of the target.

"I don't have words, it was very close, but unfortunately.. I don't think I could have done anything more," Samson said.

"I timed it well, but unfortunately couldn't clear the man in the deep.

"It's all part of the game, we thought the wicket was getting better and we could chase the target down. Despite the loss, I think the team played really well."

Earlier, Punjab posted a mammoth 221-6 thanks to quickfire half-centuries from captain KL Rahul (91) and all-rounder Deepak Hooda (64).

Rajasthan's chase got off to a poor start, losing England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Manan Vohra early, but Samson turned the game on its head after being dropped on 12, striking 12 boundaries and seven sixes to register the first century of this season's IPL.

But needing five off the final two deliveries, Samson turned down a single off the penultimate ball before holing out to deep extra cover off the bowling of Arshdeep Singh as Rajasthan fell agonisingly short.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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