Ranji Trophy: Pant scores fastest first-class hundred

Rishabh’s towering knock of 135 runs of just 67-balls including 13 sixes and eight fours was the highlight of the last day’s play in the match which predictably ended in a draw.

Rishabh celebrates after scoring the fastest first-class hundred in just 48 balls against Jharkhand.   -  Praveen Chandran

Delhi’s wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant ripped up the record books with the fastest century in first class cricket, off just 48 balls against Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy Group ‘B’ match at the KCA-St.Xavier’s College ground here on Tuesday.

Rishabh’s towering knock was the highlight of the last day’s play in the match which predictably ended in a draw. However, Jharkhand took three points from the first innings lead while Delhi got a point from the drawn encounter.Rishabh’s blitzkrieg saw him break the record jointly held by R.K. Borah and V.B. Chandrasekhar who took 56 balls to complete their centuries.

Rishabh clobbered 13 sixes and eight fours in his 67-ball knock and was dismissed for 135 in the first over after lunch. The 21 sixes the left-hander hit in the match was second highest ever in a first class cricket match after New Zealander Colin Munro’s 23.

Rishabh strode to the crease when Delhi had lost two quick wickets in the morning session and Shahbaz Ahmed was in middle of a good spell. But Rishabh during his hour’s stay at the crease plundered the hapless attack to score a blistering century, his fourth of the season.

Jharkhand’s left arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed bore the brunt of Rishabh’s fury as the left-hander clobbered him for seven sixes. Rishabh scored majority of his runs from the two spinners.

Jharkhand skipper Saurabh Tiwary allowed things to drift by persisting with his spinners when Rishabh was on song. Rishabh added 93 runs for the fourth wicket with Vaibhav Rawal who contributed a mere 10 runs in that partnership. He added a further 68 runs with Milind Kumar for the fifth wicket and looked set for a big knock but fell in the first over after lunch.

Ashish Kumar got rid of Rishabh for the second time in the match inducing an edge from the batsman which was snapped up by wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan. Milind Kumar and Manan Sharma played themselves into form by scoring half-centuries as match was called off one hour after tea.

"I never play for records. My aim was just to play positive cricket. I was middling everything today. It (record) just happened I wasn’t even aware of it until I came back to dressing room after my innings. It is a good feeling to set record. I am happy with the way I batted today and enjoyed it. This is my style I love to play my shots and will continue to do so," said Rishabh Pant.

"He is our demolition man. It is not surprising to see him break the record. He is so confident of his ability and backs himself to clear any ground,'' said Delhi's coach Bhaskar Pillai.