Right-handed batter Sanju Samson on Thursday showed why he is regarded as one of the most promising batters in the world. He played an unbeaten kncok of 86 in the first ODI against South Africa, at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Chasing 30 runs in the final over, Sanju made a match of it as he took Tabraiz Shamsi to the cleaners, but in the end, the Proteas managed to hold their nerve to seal a thrilling nine-run win.
After the match, former South Africa pacer Dale Steyn complimented Samson, saying he has the ability to hit sixes like Yuvraj Singh.
“As soon as KG (Kagiso Rabada) bowled that no-ball in the last ball of his over, I was like, ‘please don’t let this happen’. Because you never know with someone like Sanju, especially with the form that he has got and the belief that he has. I watched him in the IPL, his ability to take down the bowlers and hit boundary at will, especially in the last 2 overs of the game, is incredible,” Steyn told host broadcaster Star Sports after the match.
“Shamsi was going to bowl the last over and he (Samson) knew he (Shamsi) had a rough day. I was nervous when KG bowled the no ball. Because Sanju is a kind of guy who has the potential of Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh), to hit those six sixes and get team across the line when it needs 30+,” he added.
In the end, Samson remained unbeaten on 86 with the help of 9 fours and 3 sixes. India finally stumbled to a 9-run defeat in the first ODI. Speaking after the game, Sanju had given an insight into his thought process and the plan against Tabraiz Shamsi.
“It is always nice to spend some time in the middle and we always play to take our team over the line. I missed connecting two shots, next time I will work even harder. But I am satisfied with my contribution. Their bowlers were going about things nicely, Tabraiz Shamsi was a little expensive today so we felt we can target them,” said Samson during a post-match press conference.
“We knew he would bowl the last over, I knew if I had to get 24 runs in the final over, I can hit four sixes. I was taking the game deep, the plan was this only and the batters responded nicely,” he added.
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