'Freak Sanju' - Fans stunned after Samson single-handedly takes India close in impossible run chase
Sanju Samson starred in India’s fighting effort in their run-chase of 250 in a 40-overs-a-side rain-reduced first ODI in Lucknow on Thursday, reviving hopes of a miracle. Samson walked in with India at 51/4 in the 18th over, and carried his bat till the end to get India within striking distance.
With 30 needed off the final over, Samson struck Tabraiz Shamsi for a six and two fours and a six after a wide to get it down to 15 off 3. A dot however killed the contest, and Samson managed another four and a single to finish unbeaten 86 off 63 with nine fours and three sixes.
His approach in the penultimate over of the chase could be debated though. Samson failed to get a single on the last ball of the 38th over of Lungi Ngidi to retain strike, and could face none from Kagiso Rabada in the 39th over, which yielded seven runs at the cost of two wickets.
Here’s how fans and experts reacted on Sanju Samson’s knock:
That was a valiant effort from Sanju Samson. Tough luck but a very high quality innings.— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) October 6, 2022
Well played Sanju Samson. Hard luck for now winning the game— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) October 6, 2022
Some hilarious criticism on TL for Sanju Samson being 'slow' in his first 50 runs.— Rohit Sankar (@imRohit_SN) October 6, 2022
Walked in with 20+ overs remaining, team on 51/4 and the next batter being Shardul. What do you expect? 🙄
Samson's here to stay, unlike before, whether you like it or not.#INDvSA #SanjuSamson
What a knock by Sanju Samson - 86* in just 63 balls with 9 fours and 3 sixes. Almost took India over the line, an innings worth a million appreciation!— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) October 6, 2022
Take a bow, Sanju! pic.twitter.com/ygD2s72XWM
Dhawan said "It was amazing to watch the fightback by Samson, Shreyas and Thakur".— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) October 6, 2022
In an IPL 2021'game, when some of the other batters looked shell-shocked by Nortje's ability to hit the pitch very hard, Sanju Samson seemed to be handling him like a normal bowler.— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) October 6, 2022
Today, he is playing a fine hand on a spin-friendly deck.
You possibly changed all the gears you could've, in this innings.— North Stand Gang - Wankhede (@NorthStandGang) October 6, 2022
Take a bow, Sanju Samson. ❤️pic.twitter.com/iMYQO3t0q7
In an ideal world, Sanju Samson would have been one of the first names in India's T20 World Cup squad. But here he is! Trying to prove his worth, despite proving it numerous times before. #INDvSA— Prasenjit Dey (@CricPrasen) October 6, 2022
Sanju Samson was exceptional tonight in a tough run chase. Surely deserves more opportunities. Can bat at any position & has all the shots— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) October 6, 2022
Earlier, the Indian top-order crumbled to South Africa’s brilliance with the ball. Shubman Gill was castled by Kagiso Rabada for 3, while skipper Shikhar Dhawan (4 off 16) dragged one from Wayne Parnell onto his stumps. Debutant Ruturaj Gaikwad (19 off 42) and Ishan Kishan (20 off 37) both fell to the brilliance of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who returned 1/23 in an impressive eight overs spell.
Samson added 67 for the fifth wicket with Shreyas Iyer (50 off 37) and another 93 with Shardul Thakur (33 off 31) to ignite hopes of win, and carried on till the end only to fall agonisingly short.
South Africa posted 249/8 after being put in by Dhawan in a rain-delayed start, with Heinrich Klaasen (74* off 65) and David Miller (75* off 63) being the chief contributors with an unbroken 139-run fifth-wicket stand.
The second ODI will be played in Ranchi on Sunday, October 9.