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Samson proves too hot to handle for hapless PNG

Sharjah: Sanju Samson set the Sharjah Cricket Stadium ablaze with a whirlwind knock of 85 off just 48 balls to steer India to a whopping total and help them record an emphatic-245 run victory over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup on Wednesday.

Cheered by hundreds of schoolchildren, Samson hit four sixes and eight boundaries against the hapless PNG attack. Along with Shreyas Iyer (36), Samson put on 116 runs in just 12.4 overs to thrash the PNG attack and help India post 301 for 6 in 50 overs. PNG found the Indian attack to be too strong during the chase. India’s left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who had wrecked Scotland with a hat-trick on Monday, produced a spell of four wickets for just 10 runs backed by medium pacer Monu Kumar, who took three wickets for 13 runs to bowl out PNG for a paltry 56 runs. Only two PNG batsmen Riley Hekure (20) and Hiri Hiri (13) reached double figures.

Openers Bains and Akhil Herwadkar put on 58 runs for India in just 11.2 overs after the champions decided to beat. Skipper Vijay Zol and Bains took the score to 132 before Zol, going for a wild shot, got bowled by medium pacer Alei Nao for 35. Three overs later, Nao struck again to dismiss Bains, who went for a pull but ended up top-edging to Joseph at square leg for 59.

Samson and Iyer accelerated the run-rate. Samson lifted Gebai over long on for a six and followed it up with a flowing drive to long off boundary. Iyer picked two boundaries off left-arm medium pacer Kabua Morea. In the 40th over, Samson hit Gebai for three consecutive boundaries and the fourth ball he hit over long on for a six to steer India past the 200 run mark.

The Kerala boy reached his half-century off just 32 balls through a six off Allan Joseph over mid wicket. In the same over, he stepped out to hit a towering six over long-on. Iyer played the supporting role to perfection, providing strike to Samson. Their 100-run partnership came in 10.5 overs.

PNG got off to a bad start losing opener Kiplin Doriga in the second over, bowled by Kumar for one. Kumar also bowled Raho Sam for a duck. Dogodo Bau prevented Kumar from getting a hat-trick but fell soon after, trapped leg before by Aamir Gani for six. Yadav then struck repeatedly to hasten PNG’s end.