Match Report – SA vs IND 3rd ODI, December 21, 2023

India 296 for 8 (Samson 108, Tilak 52, Hendricks 3-63) beat South Africa 218 (de Zorzi 81, Markram 36, Arshdeep 4-30) by 78 runs

A statement-making maiden ODI century from Sanju Samson, followed by a tidy bowling partnership between Arshdeep Singh and Washington Sundar sealed the three-match ODI series in India’s favour, as the visitors won by 78 runs against South Africa at Boland Park.

Samson’s first century in India colours lifted the team to a strong 296 for 8 in the first innings, but the total seemed within reach of South Africa while Tony de Zorzi batted. He crunched 81 in 87 balls to keep the hosts on course, keeping the runs flowing even as South Africa lost Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen early.

He smacked six fours and three sixes before Arshdeep’s yorker ended his stay in the 30th over. Arshdeep, who dismissed Hendricks with the new ball and then Keshav Maharaj and Lizaad Williams in his final spell, finished with 4 for 30 after a clinical bowling display. After an initial lack of control with the new ball, he made up for it later by getting the ball to effectively nip across to the right-handers.

Washington, playing the final ODI for the rested Kuldeep Yadav, bowled tidily on a surface that assisted spin, and accounted for Wiaan Mulder, but more importantly had Aiden Markram caught behind attempting a reverse sweep for 36. Markram’s wicket in the 26th over, four overs before de Zorzi’s dismissal, effectively started the slide the hosts never managed to shake off.

With Mukesh Kumar and Avesh Khan also picking off David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen respectively soon after, South Africa went from 131 for 3 to 192 for 7 in the space of 12.1 overs. Washington finished with 2 for 38 – even outperforming his senior spin partner Axar Patel (1 for 48) – to compliment Arshdeep’s match-winning spell.

Earlier in the day, India were inserted by Markram at the toss, and were in a spot of bother when debutant Rajat Patidar, his fellow opener B Sai Sudharsan and the No. 4 KL Rahul all fell for relatively low scores. Patidar had impressed with a spunky 16-ball 22 but was bowled by Nandre Burger trying to attack. Sudharsan was gone lbw by Beuran Hendricks while Rahul was out trying to flick Mulder off a two-paced delivery.

It was at 101 for 3 in the 19th over when Samson – promoted to No. 3 for the decider – and Tilak Verma joined hands to anchor the middle overs. Their 116-run stand in 136 balls held the innings together through a difficult period where the slow surface and accurate spin bowling from Maharaj and Markram made run-scoring tough.

In the first ten, India had gained the early momentum by hitting 59 in the batting powerplay but appeared to lose it when Tilak, in particular, was strangled by spin. Their scoring-rate dropped significantly between overs 11 and 30, as the pair built a score at a slow pace, adding only 73 runs in that 20-over period.

Tilak’s struggles also starved Samson off strike in the initial stage of the partnership, but Samson did not lose patience in his innings building, easing the overall pressure with the occasional boundary to keep India moving.

Once Tilak got his first boundary in his 39th ball to move from nine to 13, the floodgates also opened, with the runs coming more frequently. The 71 runs the pair added between the 31st and 40th overs brought India on track with big hitters to follow, but Tilak fell to Maharaj for 52 soon after hitting his maiden ODI fifty.

Samson, though, who played relatively risk-free cricket, keep India’s score moving. He brushed past his previous ODI high score of 86 comfortably, and in the 44th over reached his maiden century by driving down the ground for a single. His 110-ball century was followed up with a flex of his muscle.

Samson was eventually gone for 108 in the 46th over with a strike-rate of almost 95 in the trying to hit Lizaad Williams out of the ground, but his century meant the stage was set for some late fireworks. That was provided by Rinku Singh, who muscled 38 in 27 balls, with some able assistance from Washington and Arshdeep with the bat too, who together contributed 21 in 11 deliveries. That pushed India to a score of 296 for 8 – including 164 in the last 20 overs – to post a total that appeared above par given the surface on offer.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx

#Match #Report #IND #3rd #ODI #December

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