Sanju Samson’s career-best 212 not out, the highest individual score in Vijay Hazare Trophy history, was the headline as Kerala took on Goa in an Elite Group A game in Alur on Saturday.
It was Samson’s maiden List A century – he has two T20 hundreds and nine in first-class cricket – and when he doubled it, it became only the eighth instance of an Indian scoring a List A double, five of which have come in ODIs: three by Rohit Sharma, and one each by Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Those aside, there is Shikhar Dhawan’s 248 for India A against South Africa A in Pretoria in 2013 and Karn Veer Kaushal’s 202 for Uttarakhand against Sikkim in last season’s Vijay Hazare Trophy, the first time a double was scored in the tournament.
Samson also put up 338 runs – the highest third-wicket partnership in List A history – with his captain Sachin Baby, who hit 127 in 135 balls, to take the team total to 377 for 3 in 50 overs. Theirs was also the highest partnership by an Indian pair in List A games, topping Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid’s previous record of 331.
Coming in to bat after opener Robin Uthappa was given out obstructing the field in the fourth over, Samson accelerated steadily in his innings, racing to 52 off 30 balls. Baby joined him at the crease in the eighth over, and the duo upped the scoring rate from the 13th over onwards. Samson went from 50 to 100 in 36 balls and in just 33 more balls, he had brought up his 150.
Baby, the more subdued of the two, brought up his century off 122 balls, and together they pushed the team total beyond 350 in 48 overs. Samson moved to 199 with a six and then brought up his 200 off just 125 balls, taking 26 balls to score the last 50. Baby was dismissed with five balls left in Kerala’s innings, while Samson remained unbeaten, his innings studded with 21 fours and ten sixes.
Legspinner Amit Verma was the only Goa bowler to finish with an economy rate below six, while the rest of them went at over seven, seamer Heramb Parab going for 76 runs in the nine overs he bowled.