Picture credit: BCCI/Twitter

As the ODI series decider between South Africa and India kicked off in Paarl's Boland Park on Thursday, Sanju Samson, like a man on a mission, came out all guns blazing. The Royals captain notched up his debut international hundred in the 3rd ODI, and it came off just 110 balls. 



Earlier in the day, South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl first on what looked like a tricky pitch. Accepting the challenge, India started well but lost Rajat Patidar inside the first five overs. In walked Sanju at No.3, and the first ball that he faced was from his new teammate and the Royals, Nandre Burger. Calm and composed, Sanju went on to stitch solid partnerships, first with KL Rahul (52), followed by a century stand with Tilak Varma. Courtesy of Sanju's knock coupled with helpful contributions in the middle order, India posted a total of 296/8 in their 50 overs. 

Just minutes after Sanju's flamboyant knock, congratulatory messages from fans and cricket experts from around the world started pouring in on social media. 


Then came a disciplined bowling attack from the visitors, with Arshdeep Singh once again starring with an impressive performance. His four-wicket haul was complimented well by Royals pacer Avesh Khan, who bagged a couple of wickets, to finish as the series' second-highest wicket-taker. The Indian spinners joined the party too, and South Africa were bundled out for 218 in the 46th over. 

A smiling Sanju Samson gleefully collected his Player of the Match award, and here's what he said:

"Proud of it, especially considering the result as well. Have been working hard, not just for the past couple of months so it’s nice. This format gives you some extra time to understand the wicket and the bowler’s mindset. Batting at the top of the order gives you those 10-20 extra deliveries."