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First ODI: With a late charge, Indian best player Sanju Samson almost pulls it off for India


First with the bat and later with the ball, South Africa struck India between the ears. As a result, the outcome became a foregone conclusion in the rain-shortened 40-over-a-side One-Day International in Lucknow. Eventually, if the nine-run margin of victory for South Africa was far less than impressive, it was due to some late flourish by Sanju Samson (86 not out, 63b, 9×4, 3×4). With 30 runs needed off the final over, bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi, Samson hit 19 of the 20 runs scored.

First ODI: With a late charge, Sanju Samson almost pulls it off for India -

In fact, once half-centurions Heinrich Klassen and David Miller pulled South Africa out of the tightening Indian grip with an unconquered 139-run stand before Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell delivered early blows, the host was always behind in the game.

As gorgeous as his knock was — the unfussy beauty of his strokes, the unreal calm that dwells on his face, the calculation skills, and the pacing of his game — Sanju would reflect on this night with a tinge of regret.

India vs South Africa Highlights, 1st ODI 2022: South Africa beat India by 9 runs, take 1-0 lead in 3-match series - The Times of India : 1st ODI in a nutshell

He did most things right in the innings. In the early passage of his innings, he farmed the strike to the more assertive Shreyas Iyer. After the latter’s exit, he took control of the wheels, seamlessly shifting gears. After strumming the chords on a low pitch, he suddenly raised his tone in the 33rd over striking Wayne Parnell for two distinct boundaries, showing two different layers of his game.

A dismissive pull followed by a dab to the third man, one stroke of pure power and the other of ridiculous placement. But the required rate was still too steep — a further 86 runs were required off 42, more than two runs a ball. But Samson and Shardul Thakur seemed assured, and not frazzled, as they whittled down the target to 39 runs off 16 balls, a difficult but realistic equation in this day and age.

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