Vijay Hazare Trophy: Sanju Samson slams double ton, breaks batting records

Samson's unbeaten 212 became the highest score by a wicket-keeper batsman in all List-A cricket, eclipsing the 209 Pakistan's Abid Ali scored for Islamabad.

Sanju Samson strikes a pose after his unbeaten 212 for Kerala against Goa in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Alur grounds on Saturday.   -  Shreedutta Chidananda

Sanju Samson posted the highest List-A score in Indian domestic cricket when he smashed an unbeaten 212 for Kerala against Goa in the Vijay Hazare Trophy at the Alur grounds here on Saturday.

Samson's knock came off a mere 129 balls, and was studded with 21 fours and 10 sixes. Uttarakhand's Karan Veer Kaushal had previously held the record for the highest individual score in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, when he became the tournament's first double-centurion with his 202 against Sikkim last year.

Samson walked in to bat with Kerala 15 for one in the fourth over, and went after the bowling from the outset. He reached his 50 off 30 balls, and then raised his maiden List-A century off 66 deliveries. The 150 arrived in 99 balls, and from there Samson went berserk.

He needed only 26 more deliveries to get to his double hundred, unleashing five sixes in that period. Samson's unbeaten 212 became the highest score by a wicket-keeper batsman in all List-A cricket, eclipsing the 209 Pakistan's Abid Ali scored for Islamabad against Peshawar last year.

 

Meanwhile, at the other end, Sachin Baby made a comparatively watchful 127 (135b), as he and Samson put on 338 runs (249) for the third wicket.

This broke the record for the highest third-wicket stand in all List-A cricket, previously held by Tim Curtis and Tom Moody, who had stitched together 309 for Worcestershire against Surrey at the Oval in 1994.

Kerala eventually made 377 in 50 overs, before restricting Goa to 273 for eight.

Whatmore praises Samson

Kerala coach Dav Whatmore was full of praise for his double centurion afterwards. "It was special, wasn't it?" he asked.

"He was in very early and he continued to attack throughout. There were still plenty of overs left when he got to his hundred, so I knew straight away that if he was in till the end, he was easily going to get a double."

Samson's ball-striking ability has never been in doubt, but the 24-year-old has struggled for consistency. He had never scored a hundred in 85 previous List-A matches, and had hitherto averaged only 28.

"It's puzzling," said Whatmore. "He's always been very pleasing on the eye. He looks to be in total control, and then he gets out. It's 90% mental. Once he's able to turn the corner and be a little more consistent from a mental point of view, the floodgates can open. Now he's shown to himself and his teammates what he's capable of."

Samson was unavailable for comment post-match, with the Kerala team management telling the assembled media that no player interviews would be permitted till the end of the tournament.