Rishabh Pant played a breathtaking knock of 125* in the final ODI against England at Old Trafford to lead India to their third ever bilateral series win on English soil on Sunday. While Rishabh Pant became one of the top trends on social media, it was captain Rohit Sharma who stole the limelight from him with his reaction to his match-winning shot in Manchester.

Following Rishabh Pant’s series-winning stroke, a perfect reverse-sweep off a Joe Root delivery, the delighted India dasher moved his eyes towards the players’ balcony where captain Rohit Sharma gave him a broad smile before making a thumbs-up gesture pointing at him. Rishabh Pant responded to Rohit Sharma’s gesture in an identical fashion.

En route to his knock of 125 not out, Rishabh Pant broke a clutch of records, including MS Dhoni’s record for the highest score by a wicketkeeper-batter in a successful run-chase in SENA countries.

MS Dhoni remained unbeaten on 87 in a 50-over game against Australia in 2019 to guide India to their maiden bilateral series triumph Down Under. Rishabh Pant, however, broke that record with a fair margin as he smashed a scintillating 125* against the Jos Buttler-led side during the weekend.

With his match-winning three-figure score, Rishabh Pant became just the third Indian wicketkeeper to make a hundred while chasing a target in ODIs. In 2005, MS Dhoni tore apart the Sri Lankan bowling line-up to cruise through to an unbeaten 183 while Rahul Dravid occupies the third position in the list with his 109 not out against West Indies in 2002.

Rishabh Pant arrived at the crease with India in trouble at 21/2 after losing both their openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan inside the first five overs after Hardik Pandya (4/24) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/60) helped the visitors bowl out England for 259 in 45.5 overs.

The Indians were then reduced to 72/4 with Virat Kohli perishing for 17 and Suryakumar Yadav departing for 16 by the time English bowlers delivered their 17 over.

Despite wickets falling around him, Rishabh Pant remained unperturbed and took a cautious approach at the start of the innings to get accustomed to the pace of the wicket. However, once he found his footing on the pitch, there was no looking back for Rishabh Pant.

The 24-year-old’s resurrection act came in tandem with Hardik Pandya, who hit a scintillating 71 off 55 deliveries in a 133-run partnership, bringing India back in the match.

After Hardik Pandya’s dismissal, Rishabh Pant upped the ante as he brought up his hundred off 106 balls, also his maiden one in the 50-over format in Manchester.

India eventually went on to achieve the target in 42.1 overs with Rishabh Pant remaining unbeaten on 125 off 113 balls, including 16 fours and two sixes.

In the post-match presentation ceremony, a delighted Rishabh Pant said that he will always remember his innings at Old Trafford as it was his first ton in ODIs.

“Hopefully I will remember my first ODI century for the rest of my life. But when I was in there, I was just focusing on one ball at a time. When a team is under pressure and you bat like that, that’s what you aspire to do,” Rishabh Pant said.

I enjoy playing in England and will do whatever I can do to keep enjoying my cricket. The more cricket you play, the more experience you get,” Rishabh Pant added.

Crediting India’s bowlers for restricting England to a score of 259, Rishabh Pant claimed that it was the best pitch to bat on in the ODI series.

“It was the best pitch to bat on, so credit to our bowlers for keeping them to 260. Not only this game, they have bowled well through the series. Not only this series either, they have been excellent all year,” Rishabh Pant elaborated.

On the other hand, Rohit Sharma even hailed Rishabh Pant in the post-match presentation ceremony where he claimed that the Indian cricket team wasn’t worried about the target because the left-handed batter was going all guns blazing in the middle.

“It was a good pitch, but we do understand it’s not going to be easy if we lose wickets upfront. Positive side of it, these guys haven’t batted much in the middle overs. Today we got to see that with Hardik and Rishabh. At no point we felt they were panicking. They backed themselves and played cricketing shots,” Rohit Sharma said about Hardik and Pant’s heroics against England.

“Very pleased. We came here, wanted to achieve something as a group in white-ball, and we did. Moving forward there are things we need to improve but pleased with the effort. We were here last time and we were beaten I remember. It is not easy place to come and win games but the way we played entire white-ball leg was fantastic. Wanted to do it for a long period of time, to achieve it was brilliant,” Rohit Sharma concluded.