A historic first ODI century by wicketkeeper-batsman Samson, coupled with a half-century from Tilak Varma, propelled India to a competitive total of 296/8 in the third ODI against South Africa in Paarl on Thursday.
“I feel really emotional, going through the emotions now. I am very happy to achieve this. I have been putting in a lot of work, both physically and mentally, and I am happy to see the results go my way now. They bowled really well with the new ball, and the older ball was getting slower and more difficult to bat. So after KL got out, they had momentum, and Maharaj was bowling very well. But me and Tilak stuck it out and went strong at the end. We were playing an extra all-rounder today, so me and Tilak had decided that we had to go hard from the 40th over onwards,” said Samson following the innings.
Coming to the match, India was put on the field first by the Proteas. Rajat Patidar (22 in 16 balls, with three fours and a six) had a hard-hitting international debut, while Sai Sudharsan (10) was disappointing following two back-to-back fifties. Skipper KL Rahul (21) also could not build on a solid start, leaving India at 101/3.
Then Samson had a 116-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Tilak Varma (52 in 75 balls, with six fours and a six). Samson scored his maiden ton, 108 runs in 114 balls, with six fours and three sixes. He played a cautious and measured knock instead of his usual attacking approach. Finishing touches from Rinku Singh (38 in 27 balls, three fours and two sixes) took India to 296/8.
Beuran Hendricks (3/63) and Nandre Burger (2/64) were the top bowlers for South Africa. Lizaad Williams, Wiaan Mulder and Keshav Maharaj got a wicket each.
(With ANI Inputs)