After years of inconsistency and being ignored, Sanju Samson is finally getting his due at the international level; in 2022, the Kerala keeper-batsman has got into his groove in the India blue colours.
He received his maiden Man of the Match award – in the second ODI vs Zimbabwe, in Harare, on Saturday, for his excellent catching behind the stumps as a wicket-keeper which was followed by a calm, yet aggressive batting display in the small run-chase which was, however, made a bit tricky.
Samson took three catches of the top three Zimbabwe batters – including a one-handed stunned to dismiss opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano.
Zimbabwe openers T Kaitano and Innocent Kaia had batted extremely cautiously – their opening stand was worth 20 runs in 52 balls – against the Indian pacers who had exploited the helpful conditions well in the first ODI and did the same today, but were wicketless for over 8 overs.
The first wicket, however, opened the floodgates; this first breakthrough was brought by Mohammed Siraj and was completed by a superlative catch by Samson.
Siraj bowled a beautiful delivery in the channel around off-stump and the ball swung away late, forcing Kaitano to play at it. But the batsman coud only manage was a soft outside edge.
Samson was initially moving to his left but quickly dived to his right showing his sharp reflexes. The wicket-keeper put his right hand out and grabbed the ball. Fortunately, even as he fell to the ground, Samson didn’t let the ball go away.
You can watch the video of Sanju Samson’s brilliant catch here:
— Just Butter (@ItzButter63) August 20, 2022
Sanju Samson aces the chase; completed it with a sixer
Speaking about his batting, Samson came in to bat at the score of 97/4 – Indian in a bit of a stutter in their chase of 162. But Samson ensured India’s victory, with his attacking unbeaten knock of 43* runs off 39 balls.
He smashed 4 sixes and 3 fours in his innings to further show the aggressive brand of cricket that the Indian management has asked for from their batters. And Samson even completed the chase with a six down the ground.
Samson was involved in a crucial partnership with Deepak Hooda, who was slotted at number 5: the pair added 56 runs off 58 balls after India were in a bit of a pickle at 97/4; Hooda only scored 17 in that stand, and it was the Rajasthan Royals skipper who smacked 36 off 33 balls with Hooda watching it at the non-striker’s end.
After receiving his maiden Player of the Match award, Samson said, “How much ever time you spend in the middle, it makes you feel good. Even more special to do it for the country. I did take three catches, but I missed a stumping. Really enjoying keeping and batting. I think they (Indian bowlers) were bowling really good areas, a lot of balls came nicely to me.”
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