Moments after Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 125 powered India to a 2-1 series victory over England at Old Trafford in Manchester, a Twitter post from India’s 2011 World Cup winner Yuvraj Singh took social media by storm. Rishabh Pant smashed his maiden ODI century, hitting a majestic 125* off 113 deliveries, featuring 16 boundaries and two sixes to secure India’s third ever ODI series triumph in England.
As fans and former cricketers from around the world were heaping rich praise on Rishabh Pant for his stellar show in the final ODI against the Three Lions, Yuvraj Singh hinted that he and the Uttarakhand-born cricketer had a 45-minute chat which helped him in hitting his maiden ODI hundred.
“Looks like the 45-minute conversation made sense!! Well played @RishabhPant17. That’s how you pace your innings. @hardikpandya7, great to watch #indiavseng,” Yuvraj Singh tweeted.
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) July 17, 2022
Nonetheless, Yuvraj Singh wasn’t the only ex-India star who was impressed with Rishabh Pant’s sensational knock as Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Sanjay Manjrekar, and Aakash Chopra too went gaga about his performance.
“Last match of a series and Rishabh Pant playing brilliantly – this is a better love story than twilight. Incredible innings from an incredible player – with great support from Hardik and Jadeja,” Virender Sehwag tweeted.
Last match of a series and @RishabhPant17 playing brilliantly – this is a better love story than twilight.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) July 17, 2022
“This is one of the best ODI 100 under pressure on the English soil from an Indian batter, considering series was on the line,” former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan posted on Twitter.
“Combination of sound defence, sometimes audacious, sometimes normal attacking play controlled by a sharp and calm cricketing mind. Most importantly stays there till the end to win games for India. There is no one like Rishabh Pant!” ex-India batter Sanjay Manjrekar claimed on social media.
“Rishabh Pant has a knack of producing his best innings under pressure. What a time to bring up his first ODI hundred. The move to have him at No. 4 has started paying off,” former India opener Aakash Chopra opined.
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 Uttarakhand-born dasher’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 concluded.