Local hero Sanju Samson struck a blistering 48-ball 91 as India A romped to a 36-run win over South Africa A in the fifth and final unofficial ODI, helping the hosts claim the series 4-1 at Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. (More Cricket News)
Kerala wicketkeeper batsman Samson, who has played one T20 International for India, showcased his skills in another rain-affected game at the Sports Hub here.
In a rain-affected 20 overs-a-side game, India A made 204 for 4 before restricting South Africa A to 168 all out with Shardul Thakur taking 3 for 9 from three overs.
Samson exhibited his hitting abilities, smashing some huge sixes as he toyed with the rival Proteas attack during his 135-run second wicket partnership with India regular Shikhar Dhawan (51 off 36 balls), who posted his second straight half-century.
Dhawan and Samson, who came together after opener Prashant Chopra (2) fell to Beuran Hendricks in the first over, played shots on both sides of the wickets and were never afraid to go for the big hits.
Samson overshadowed his illustrious partner and tonked the Proteas bowlers with disdain, hitting some massive sixes.
Dhawan fell while going for a big hit to give George Lind (2/43) his first wicket.
Samson was dismissed after adding 23 runs with skipper Shreyas Iyer (36), when in sight of a well-deserved ton. Today's knock of 91 is his highest List A score.
Iyer played some stylish shots to round off the India A innings.
In reply, South Africa got off to a quick start but regular fall of wickets set the team back. Janneman Malan (16) and captain Temba Bavuma (6) fell by the end of the 4th over.
Opener Reeza Hendricks (59 off 43) was his usual aggressive self and in the company of Kyle Verreynne (44 off 24) brought the visitors back into the game with some superb strokeplay.
After Verreynne fell to Tamil Nadu all-rounder M S Washington Sundar (2/39), Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen (14) kept South Africa A in the hunt.
However, their dismissals in the space of five runs, affected the team's momentum and the lower-order caved in, losing five wickets for 20 runs. Hendricks was out well caught by Iyer to give leggie Rahul Chahar (1/38) his only wicket.
Thakur, who struck the first blow for the host, getting Malan in the third over, returned to dismiss S Qeshile and Marco Jansen to finish with figures of 3-0-9-3.
Samson was named man of the match for his robust innings.
The two teams will now play two four-day matches, beginning here on September 9.
Brief scores: India A 204 for 4 in 20 overs (Sanju Samson 91, Shikhar Dhawan 51, Shreyas Iyer 36, Beuran Hendricks 2/29, George Linde 2/43) beat South Africa A 168 all out in 20 overs (Reeza Hendricks 59, Kyle Verreynne 44, Shardul Thakur 3/9, Washington Sundar 2/39).