Sanju Samson on Saturday bagged the Player of the Match award as India defeated Zimbabwe by 5 wickets in the 2nd ODI in Harare to clinch the series 2-0. The wicketkeeper-batter walked out to bat at no. 6 after India had a troubled start in the chase of 162. The visitors were reduced to 97 for 4 in 14 overs while the likes of KL Rahul (1) and Ishan Kishan (6) couldn’t make notable contributions.
Sanju then joined forces with all-rounder Deepak Hooda and forged a 53-run stand that shifted the momentum in India’s favour. With one run required to win, the Kerala cricketer smashed a six over long-on to Innocent Kaia and sealed the game in style.
The 27-year-old was elated to play a match-winning knock for India. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Sanju said spending time in the middle always makes him feel good.
“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 enjoy keeping and batting. I think they (Indian bowlers) were bowling really good areas, a lot of balls came nicely to me," said Samson in a post-match conference.
India lost KL Rahul early for just one. Following this, Shikhar Dhawan (33) and Shubman Gill (33) rebuild the innings. A 42-run stand between these two was broken after Tanaka Chivanga trapped Dhawan. Ishan Kishan and Gill continued, forming a 36-run stand. Kishan (6) and Gill fell quickly to Luke Jongwe (2/33) and it gave India a scare. But a 56-run stand between Sanju Samson (43*) and Deepak Hooda (25) took Men in Blue home, though Hooda was dismissed just a few balls before the win.
With this win, India also take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, with Monday’s match becoming a dead rubber. The five-wicket victory also means that this was India’s 14th win on the trot over Zimbabwe in ODI cricket.