5th Unofficial ODI: Samson, Shardul deliver 4-1 series win for India A
Sanju Samson and Shardul Thakur (Agencies)

Sanju Samson and Shardul Thakur were the star performers in India A‘s 36-run win over South Africa A in their fifth and final Unofficial ODI at Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

The hosts thus sealed the five-match series 4-1.

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Sanju Samson registered his highest List-A score of 91 as India A posted a strong total of 204/4 against South Africa A in a rain-curtailed match that was reduced to 20-over a side after a lengthy delay owing to wet outfield. Shardul then took 3/9 as the tourists were bowled out for 168 in 20 overs.

Samson was in blistering form after captain Shreyas Iyer won the toss and opted to bat first in the final match of the series. He raced to his fifty off just 27 balls and looked set for his maiden triple-figure score in List A, but was caught brilliantly by Janneman Malan off the bowling of Geroge Linde in the 16th over.

During his knock, the Kerala wicketkeeper batsman hit six fours and seven sixes. He was ably supported by opener Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 51 off 36 balls combining for a stand of 135 runs for the second wicket in just 12.3 overs. India A had lost Prashant Chopra in the first over for just two runs to Beuran Hendricks.

Early in his innings, Dhawan was hit on the back of the neck while attempting a standing scoop shot off Hendricks. Play was halted for a while, but Dhawan resumed his innings shortly afterwards.

Iyer contributed 36 off 19 with the help of five fours and one six while Shivam Dube made a run-a-ball unbeaten ten.

Hendricks finished with 2/29 in his four overs while Linde was only other wicket-taker claiming 2/43 in his four overs.

Chasing a big target, South Africa A were off to a bad start losing opener Janneman Malan (16)  and captain Temba Bavuma (6) inside four overs. The pair of Reeza Hendricks (59) and Kyle Verreynne (44) revived their hunt with a 69-run partnership for the third wicket. At 95/2 in 10.5 overs, they were still in the contest before Verreynne holed out while going for a big hit having already belted a six and two fours in the over of Washington Sundar (2/39).

The wicket did bring some relief to India A bowlers but Hendricks then took over and with Heinrich Klaasen leed the chase forward. Just when it looked the match was headed towards a close finish, Tushar Deshpande (1/28) struck with the wicket of Klaasen (14). And when Hendricks departed, the innings collapsed.

Brief Scores: India A 204/4 (Sanju Samson 91, Shikhar Dhawan 51; Beuran Hendricks 2/29) beat South Africa A 168 (Reeza Hendricks 59, Kyle Verreynne 44; Shardul Thakur 3/9, Washington Sundar 2/39) by 36 runs