Rishabh Pant came out all guns blazing at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground on Sunday, producing some breathtaking shot-making to help India cruise past England by five wickets. The wicketkeeper was ably supported by a resurgent Hardik Pandya, ensuring the Men in Blue a series victory.
Rishabh Pant’s legacy as a big-game player has already taken hold strongly in the Indian conscience, following yet another brilliant innings beyond belief in a crucial series decider. The youngster recorded his first ever century in the format and how to drive India from a fix to a flying finish. With this five-wicket victory, the Men in Blue clean-swept hosts England in the limited-overs leg of the tour, winning both the T20I and ODI series by 2-1 margins.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and sent England in to bat first. A roaring Jason Roy looked lethal early on but was soon denied by a Hardik Pandya bowling masterclass. The trio of Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler with some help from Ben Stokes yet again settled the ship and seemed set to take England to a daunting total. However, the all-rounder played spoilsport once more with two quick wickets, registering his first four-wicket haul in the format. Eventually, the Three Lions were bundled out for 259 courtesy of Yuzvendra Chahal dismissing the tail.
As was the story in the last game, left arm pacers of England immediately handed their team the edge, reducing India to 38/3. Suryakumar Yadav fell soon enough, leaving Pandya and Pant to take charge. The pair did their job wonderfully, putting up a 133-run partnership. The former smashed 10 boundaries in his inning, as his 55-ball 71 made him the first Indian to score a half-century and take four wickets in a match in both T20Is and ODIs.
At the same time, Pant plied his trade silently, trudging along to a half-century. When the required runs fell below 100, the 24-year-old triggered his attacking instincts and went gung-ho on the English bowlers. From 65 off 82 deliveries, he raced to a century in just 24 more balls. After Pandya’s dismissal, the outburst gained even more intensity as the wicketkeeper-batsman hit five fours in as many deliveries in the penultimate over, including an audacious slap off a short ball over David Willey’s head. A quiet single of the last ball in the over meant he had the glorious opportunity to score the winning runs.
In typical Pant style, the talisman reverse-swept Joe Root for four to register a win with five wickets and a mammoth 47 balls still to play. The internet has gone gaga over Pant’s mature innings, shoving him into the spotlight after yet another big-game-winning knock.
Finishes off in style!
Knock of the year
1st ODI 100🥵❤️❤️❤️❤️— A S H ( BOT ) (@itayouramit1) July 17, 2022
Chasing in a collapse
One of his best knocks of the year.
Well played Hardik And Rp 17
INDIA WON THE SERIES 2:1#rp17 #RishabhPant #TeamIndia #odi #INDvsENG #ENGvsIND pic.twitter.com/eah4bkghyn
He is just sensational!