India batter Sanju Samson on Thursday played one of the most brilliant innings of his international career as he scored an unbeaten 86, but failed to take Shikhar Dhawan-led Team India over the line against South Africa in the first ODI of the three-match series at Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
The right-handed batter kept the host's hopes alive in the game till the last over, when India needed 30 runs, but as soon as he missed the fourth delivery, the game was over for Men in Blue.
"It is always nice to spend some time in the middle and we always play to take our team over the line. I missed connecting two shots, next time I will work even harder. But I am satisfied with my contribution," Samson said in a post-match press conference.
Samson returned with an unbeaten score of 86 with the help of 9 fours and 3 sixes. Speaking about South Africa's bowler Tabraiz Shamsi, Samson said that they decided to target the Proteas bowler in the last over as he knew that Shamsi was a little expensive against India in the game.
"Their bowlers were going about things nicely, Tabraiz Shamsi was a little expensive today so we felt we can target them. We knew he would bowl the last over, I knew if I had to get 24 runs in the final over, I can hit four sixes. I was taking the game deep, the plan was this only and the batters responded nicely," he added.
Further talking about the match against Proteas, Samson said: "It is always nice to spend some time in the middle and we always play to take our team over the line. I missed connecting two shots, next time I will work even harder. But I am satisfied with my contribution."
India lost to South Africa by 9 runs in a 40-over rain-truncated match played here at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow in the first game of the three-match ODI series.
With this defeat, Shikhar Dhawan-led India now trails the Proteas 0-1 in the three-match ODI series. (ANI)