The Indian wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson has to be one of the most polarizing figures in world cricket at the moment. While no one can deny his talent and extraordinary ability to hit a cricket ball effortlessly, he has often received criticism courtesy of his inconsistency. That has been the only reason he hasn’t been able to cement his place on the Indian side so far.
Sanju Samson has been around the Indian white-ball set-up for a while now, but he is yet to feature regularly in the playing XI. In fact, the Kerala batter failed to find a place in India’s T20 World Cup squad. At the same time, the BCCI has also received criticism for not picking the talented wicketkeeper despite a few consistent performances in the recent past.
On Thursday, Sanju Samson got an opportunity to answer everyone with his bat and he made it count. India were up against South Africa in the first game of the three-ODI series. With the T20 World Cup squad already left for Australia, Sanju alongside some other second-string players got an opportunity in this game. It was a rain-affected game as the overs were reduced to 40 overs a side.
India skipper Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and invited the Proteas to bat first. Courtesy of brilliant knocks from Henrich Klaasen and David Miller, South Africa posted a daunting total of 249/4 in 40 overs. Chasing the total, India were off to the worst-possible start as they lost both openers for a score of 8. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan tried to stabilize the innings but they were too slow with their approach. In the end, they also perished with the required run rate creeping up.
Sanju Samson dazzles with the bat
Samson alongside Shreyas Iyer kept India in the hunt as the duo added 67 runs for the 5th wicket. After Shreyas Iyer got out, Sanju found an able partner in Shardul Thakur. They both added 93 runs for the 6th wicket to bring Men in Blue close to the target. However, once Thakur got out, a bit too much work was left for the wicketkeeper-batter.
Despite all the odds stacked against him, Sanju Samson kept fighting till the last ball and remained unbeaten for 86 runs off 63 deliveries, including nine boundaries and three maximums. India managed to reach 240/8, all thanks to a solid effort from Samson and lost the game by just 9 runs.
Meanwhile, the fans were impressed by Sanju Samson’s effort with the bat and asked the BCCI to include him in the T20 World Cup squad.
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