'Freak Sanju' - Fans stunned after Samson single-handedly takes India close in impossible run chase

Sanju Samson led India’s fightback till the final over of their run-chase in the first ODI against South Africa on Thursday, but couldn’t quite get over the line.
Sanju Samson
South Africa won the first ODI by nine runs.

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: 




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.