Cricket

Pant gets cracking with a 32-ball century

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant   | Photo Credit: R_V_Moorthy

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Hits the fastest T20 century by an Indian and the second-fastest ever, behind only Chris Gayle

He gained and lost his captaincy, his form and his runs through the ongoing domestic season amidst all the churning in the Delhi dressing room. It took him just one innings on Sunday to answer all the questions his critics had begun whispering about his aptitude and attitude.

Pant wrote himself into the record books with an unbeaten 116 in 38 balls — 100 in 32 — against Himachal Pradesh in the North Zone match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy as Delhi posted a 10-wicket win.

The fastest T20 century by an Indian and the second-fastest ever, behind only Chris Gayle, was also the first three-figure mark for Pant this season after struggling in the longer format despite leading Delhi to a Ranji Trophy final after a decade.

Pant’s innings included 12 sixes, eight fours and oodles of nonchalance in the company of Gautam Gambhir, who faced 33 balls as the supporting cast in ‘The Rishabh Pant Show.’

“Honestly, everything fell in place for me this once.

Today I was confident because I was getting all my shots. Once you start getting your shots right, you can take the bowling on,” Pant told The Hindu on the knock that propelled him to the top-five in the competition this season.

The innings also justified the ₹ 8-crore tag that Delhi Daredevils put for retaining him in the squad for the upcoming IPL season.

It hadn’t worked out so far for Pant. The fact that, at 20, he was given the job of handling players who have played almost as many years on the circuit played its part, affecting his freedom to play and adding pressure. And Pant admits to it, just not in as many words.

“Yes it was a tough season, I was getting out despite good starts. Probably my anxiety to play my shots and play them early in the innings was affecting my time at the crease.

“But today was different in the sense that I honestly did not make any plans for this innings. I played the ball on merit,” he said.

Asked about the changes he made between the Ranji Trophy and T20, Pant said “I had a chat with coach Tarak Sinha. He gave me a few technical tips.”

Sinha explained, “I just told him to bat more side-on. He was playing more towards mid-wicket and not straight.”

Pant added, “I am sure this innings will please him (Sinha). Reaching the Ranji Trophy final was the high point of the season, winning it would have been greater,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 8:25:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/pant-gets-cracking-with-a-32-ball-century/article22444602.ece

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