Milestones tumble like ninepins as Sanju Samson smashes double hundred
BENGALURU: The sparse crowd for the Kerala-Goa Elite Group A Vijay Hazare Trophy match were in for a treat. With no live coverage, apart from the two teams and match officials, the handful witnessed something special — a record-shattering 212 off 129 by Kerala’s Sanju Samson.
This is the highest individual Vijay Hazare score, and the highest List A score by a keeper. His partnership with Sachin Baby (338 off 249) is the highest third-wicket stand at this level. His double and Baby’s 127 helped Kerala post 377/3 and a 104-run victory. With 12 points from six games, Kerala stay in hunt for the knockouts.
Before Saturday, Samson didn’t have a List A hundred. In 85 games, his highest of 91 came against South Africa A last month. Thirteen fifties and average of 28.52 didn’t speak much of his potential. Yet, after every 50-plus knock, Samson rekindled the debate about his place in the Indian team.
“Everyone loves watching him. He looks in total control but then against the run of play, he gets out. It’s surprising that he had to wait so long for his first List A hundred,” said Kerala coach Dav Whatmore. “More than anything, 90 per cent of it is mental. Once he is able to turn the corner and becomes more consistent from a mental point of view, the floodgates will open.”
On Saturday, Samson wasn’t going to give in to mental pressure. He was in his element from the word go, scoring the first fifty off 30 and kept the pressure on the bowlers to reach 200 off just 125. He smashed 21 fours and 10 sixes. “His ability has never been in question. Everyone knows the skills that he possesses. Inconsistency has hampered his growth. We had our doubts even today if he would be able to get a ton. If he continues this way, he will be a great asset for Kerala and India,” remarked Whatmore.Brief scores: Kerala 377/3 in 50 ovs (Samson 212 n.o, Baby 127) bt Goa 273/8 in 50 ovs (Kaushik 58, Sawkar 56).