Days after being ignored for India’s World Cup squad, Rishabh Pant issued a strong statement to the selectors with a match-winning 78 that saw Delhi Capitals beat Rajasthan Royals by six wickets on Monday.
The 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman’s knock not only helped DC chase down a steep target of 192, it also took the perennially under-performing team to the top of the Indian Premier League table. Delhi now have a chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Such was the brilliance of Pant’s innings that even team adviser Sourav Ganguly was giddy with delight, in a throwback to his playing days. After the game, the youngster was applauded by his teammates but then came a moment he wouldn’t have expected. The former India captain rushed towards Pant and lifted him clean off the floor.
He even tweeted a photo of the moment saying Pant deserved the big hug and a lot more.
The 21-year-old later told his teammate Prithvi Shaw how special the moment felt in a chat between the two Delhi Capitals youngsters produced by IPL.
“It was a different moment [getting carried by Ganguly] when you finish a match like this for your team. Especially, after the end of innings when everyone was giving so much love and to see Sourav sir lift me felt special,” he said.
“We used to discuss about finishing one special match for the team and I did that now. So it’s a different experience,” Pant added.
Pant, who is often accused of throwing away his wicket, built crucial partnerships, including an 84-run third-wicket stand with Prithvi Shaw, who made 42. Reflecting on his partnership with Shaw, Pant said: “When I was batting with you [Shaw] in the middle and I was confident that we can take the game deep and finish it together. It was a good partnership and we won it for the team.”
Watch Pant’s “special moment” and the full chat here.
With inputs from AFP