Struggling Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has reminisced one of the most blistering innings played by him in the Indian Premier League (IPL). It occurred in the 2018 IPL against the Sunrisers Hyderabad when the left-handed batsman belted a century off 55 deliveries and ended with an unbeaten 128 off 63 balls. Rishabh Pant’s 128 remains the highest score by an Indian batsman in the history of the tournament.
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The 22-year old strode out to bat at 43-3 having lost Prithvi Shaw, Jason Roy, and Shreyas Iyer. By the end of the innings, Pant’s knock catapulted Delhi Daredevils to a stiff total of 187 in 20 overs in Delhi. His knock contained 15 boundaries and seven maximums at a mind-numbing strike rate of 203.17. In the final over, Rishabh Pant hammered Bhuvneshwar Kumar for five successive boundaries, carting the bowler for 43 runs in 11 balls.
The Delhi-born batsman stated that it was a different feeling since the ball was stopping a bit initially and they had lost three wickets too. Hence, Pant took the responsibility of bailing the team out of trouble and assessed that 150-160 would be a good total on the track.
“It was a different feeling because the wicket was a bit difficult. The ball was stopping a bit initially and we had lost a few wickets as well. It felt like I had a responsibility to lift my team out of trouble and give it a good total. We had decided that 150-160 would be a good target on that wicket, but we ended up getting 190-something,” Pant stated in the Instagram session with Delhi Capitals.
Despite his heroic knock, Hyderabad comfortably reached home, thanks to classy half-centuries from Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson. The keeper-batsman cited that dew in the second innings made the batting easier. Nevertheless, the southpaw rates the innings amongst the top five; but concedes it would have been bigger had Delhi won.
“In the second innings the wicket got better to bat on and there was dew. But it was one of the most amazing feeling. Whatever cricket I’ve played, I would rate that innings in one of my top five knocks. If we’d won the match, it couldn’t have gotten bigger than that. You don’t feel the importance of an innings like that when the team loses,”
I consider that a life-changing season of IPL: Rishabh Pant
That inning was a turning point of Rishabh Pant’s career as he came into the selectors’ radar and made his Test and ODI debut. The southpaw acknowledged that he had been doing well; however, he wanted to be excellent and adopt more consistency.
Pant finished the 11th season of the IPL as the second-highest run-getter with 684 runs at 52.62. Later that year in August, he made his Test debut against England and played a significant role in the series victory in Australia.
“I consider that a life-changing season of IPL, because whenever a young cricketer plays, he is looking for a big breakthrough. I was doing well but I knew that I had to be excellent, so I always strive to do more than just good and try and be more consistent,” the youngster added.