It may have been an inconsequential ODI in the larger scheme of things, but Sanju Samson knew his performance in the game would be picked up by both his fans and detractors to prove their point. Samson finished the innings at an unbeaten 86, reminding the selectors of his ability for the umpteenth time.
It was a tale of two halves where Samson initially struggled to pace his innings, despite starting it with a towering six, but his blitzkrieg in the last few overs shunned down the doubters, even though it couldn’t secure a victory for Team India.
Samson came on to bat when India was left wobbling by four quick dismissals in the swingy conditions, which Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell utilized to perfection. It wasn’t an easy condition by any means, and spinners too were getting sharp turns on this surface.
But Samson trusted his nimble footwork, charging down the ground against Tabraiz Shamsi to bring six on the third ball of his innings. But that was the only four till the next ten overs, as he was content with farming the strike when Shreyas Iyer looked in great touch and was taking on both spinners and pacers with equal ease.
It all came down to the penultimate over, where Samson didn’t face even a single ball. Avesh Khan consumed five balls for his two runs, leaving India with 30 more runs to overhaul the target. Samson smashed six and three fours against Shamsi but they still fell nine runs short of victory.
Samson’s valiant effort was duly praised, with many questioning the BCCI for not picking in their World Cup squad for Australia. “At the end of the game, I fell short by two shots,” Sanju Samson told reporters after the game. “I like spending time on the wicket. And once you are wearing the Indian jersey, it becomes more special. We play to win but we missed by two shots. Overall, I am happy with my contribution,” he added.
Ian Bishop, the cricketer-turned-broadcaster, wrote, “Sanju Samson is 27 yrs: 6 Odis at 41 avg. imagine what he could become if he has a long run.”
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