Lucknow: Sanju Samson displayed valiant effort in his unbeaten knock of 86 not out while Shreyas Iyer hit a counter-attacking fifty. But the duo’s splendid efforts went in vain as India lost to South Africa by nine runs in a rain-hit first ODI which has been reduced to 40-over per side at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Thursday.
After David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen hit unbeaten fifties to power South Africa to 249/4, India’s pursuit of chasing 250 were dealt with huge blows in the first six overs when Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell got rid of Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan respectively through thick inner edges disturbing the stumps.
Debutant Ruturaj Gaikwad put up a 42-ball resistance, but made just 19 runs and was stumped off Tabraiz Shamsi. In the next over, Ishan Kishan’s 37-ball stay at the crease came to an end as leg-slip took his catch on the inner edge off Keshav Maharaj.
At 51/4 in 17.4 overs, the match looked to be as good as over for India. But Iyer injected much-needed momentum into the chase, taking the attack to the bowlers by using his feet and timing his shots well. His onslaught on Tabraiz Shamsi was a surreal one – sweeping, lofting and punching to get a hat-trick of fours.
Iyer’s counterattacking knock continued with him smacking Lungi Ngidi for a brace of fours, before playing a late cut off Maharaj to reach his fifty in 33 balls. But in the very next over, Iyer was deceived by extra bounce on short ball and pulled straight to mid-on.
With the required run rate going past ten, Shardul Thakur had a pacy start with two quick fours and survived two lbw shouts off Shamsi, on which South Africa burnt their full quota of reviews. Samson then stepped upto be the aggressor, lofting and pulling sweetly for boundaries before reaching his second ODI fifty.
Post reaching his fifty, Samson took consecutive fours off Shamsi while Thakur used Rabada’s pace to hit a hat-trick of fours in a 14-run 37th over. But in the next over, Thakur danced down the pitch to heave but was caught at mid-off, ending a crucial 93-run stand off 65 balls.
With Kuldeep Yadav and Avesh Khan falling quickly, Samson tried to get an improbable win for India by hitting three fours and a six in the final over off Shamsi yielding 20 runs. But it was not enough for India to avoid a narrow loss.
Brief Scores: South Africa 249/4 in 40 overs (David Miller 75 not out, Heinrich Klaasen 74 not out; Shardul Thakur 2/35, Kuldeep Yadav 1/39) beat India 240/8 in 40 overs (Sanju Samson 86 not out, Shreyas Iyer 50; Lungi Ngidi 3/52, Kagiso Rabada 2/36) by nine runs