Rishabh Pant, a 19-year-old wicketkeeper batsman from Delhi Daredevils who first rose to fame when he smashed a record-breaking fifty against Nepal in the Under-19 World Cup last year and who is being considered as the future of Indian cricket showed glimpses of his brilliance and virtually set the stage on fire on Thursday in this year’s domestic competition. Pant broke records by scoring a triple hundred against Maharashtra and a blistering 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy.
Watch some blows by Rishabh Pant:
Within months he was part of the Indian team and made his international debut against England in January. Things were going smooth for the Delhi boy and he was expected to play a big role for an injury-hit Delhi Daredevils side. But, the uncertainty of life struck right before the season started as he lost his father in an unfortunate event. In his hour of darkness, a bereaved Pant overpowered grief and showed unwavering loyalty towards the team.
“Rishabh is joining us sometime in the evening,” Paddy Upton had told news agency PTI just before the talented player’s arrival in the Garden City. “The whole team will rally around Rishabh and give him support. He is a young man. It is very, very difficult, particularly when this happens in the family,” the South African had said. In his first game of the season, Pant scored 57 runs against Royal Challengers Bangalore but his team fell 16 runs short while chasing a total of 158.
Since then, Pant played some useful cameos but failed to convert them into big totals. Delhi was also on a downward slide as it lost its captain Zaheer Khan to an injury, was bundled out for 67 in a game and managed to win just 3 out of its 9 matches. However, all of that changed on Thursday night at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium when Pant combined with Sanju Samson and unleashed his wrath on Gujarat Lions’ bowlers to chase down a mammoth target of 209 and that too with 15 balls to spare.
Watch Rishabh Pant’s destructive knock here:
A stunning 143-run stand for the second wicket, which came in a shade under 10 overs, propelled the home side to the second biggest successful run chase in the history of IPL. Fearlessness defined Pant’s knock as he raced his way to 97 before being dismissed to a stroke that he would have regretted playing. Down on one knee, he was consoled by opposition captain Suresh Raina. Pant’s world stood still for a moment as he missed his maiden century by a whisker but the warrior that he is, Pant was smiling at the end of the game. A moment that would instil fear in his opponents because this could well be the beginning of a special career.