Ton-up Pant stands out among Indians

The Delhi Daredevils wicketkeeper-batsman becomes the highest-scorer among Indians in the history of the IPL with an unbeaten 128 off 63 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Rishabh Pant celebrates his hundred against Sunrisers Hyderabad in New Delhi on Thursday.   -  AP

Delhi Daredevils’ wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant — who became the third cricketer, after Chris Gayle and Shane Watson, to score a century in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League — also created two new records.

On Thursday, against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi, Pant smashed an unbeaten 128 off 63 balls, a maverick innings that included 15 fours and seven sixes. In the process, he became the highest-scorer among Indians in the cash-rich league. The previous best is by Chennai Super Kings batsman Murali Vijay — 127 against Rajasthan Royals in 2010.

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However, the 20-year-old Pant fell short of Manish Pandey’s record. Pandey still holds the record of being the youngest cricketer to score an IPL ton — 114 not out against Deccan Chargers at the age of 19 in 2009.

Sanju Samson is third in the list, who scored 102 against the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant, at the age of 22 last year.

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Pant has been promising his coach, Tarak Sinha, an innings that would justify his faith in him. Sinha has recently told Sportstar, “There is nothing wrong with Rishabh’s game. It is the overexpectation from the talented boy that often suggest that he is not focussing on his game. It is always good if people have expectations of you.”

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Pant had long realised that he would be under pressure to perform every time he takes guard. True, there have been times when he has gifted his wicket away to innocuous deliveries but that is the way he has always been encouraged to bat.

Some stalwarts back Pant to stick to his game. It is not that Pant cannot defend, but he is at his best when trying to decimate the bowlers. Given his wide range of shots, Pant will always be an asset to the team in any format of the game.

So far, Pant has hammered 521 runs — that included three half-centuries and a century — at an average of 52.10.

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