Youngster Rishabh Pant’s knock for Delhi Daredevils, against the Kane Williamson-led Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Indian Premier League match, is the highest T20 score by an Indian, ahead of Murali Vijay’s 127, made in IPL 2010.
Pant’s knock, which included 15 fours and seven sixes, made for a remarkable 68.4 per cent of Delhi’s total of 187/5. The other batsmen contributed all of 56 runs off 57 balls.
Unfortunately for Pant, he ended up on the losing side. Shikhar Dhawan (92 not out)
and Williamson (83 not out) channelled all their experience to chase down the target
with nine wickets and seven balls in hand.
Speaking after a “harsh” loss, Pant said, “I don’t know if it’s my best knock but till now it’s one of my best. I just try to see the ball and play according to it. Today I took my time and played out well actually.”
The youngster got to his half-century in 36 balls, but needed just 20 more to get to his century. The 56-ball effort was still some way off his fastest – a 32-ball hundred, the second-quickest in all T20 cricket, in a domestic game in January at the same ground.
The fastest remains Chris Gayle’s effort for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune
Warriors India, off 30 balls in IPL 2013.
Against some of the best T20 bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan, Pant
brought out disdainful sweeps, paddles, back flips and one-handed sixes.
“He played shots all over. He was quite innovative – reverse sweep, boundaries over
point. He was in good flow and consistently maintained a great strike rate,” said an
appreciative Dhawan. “It’s nice to see a youngster so confident.”
“The bowlers executed plans well, but he forced scoring shots off good balls as well,”
added Hyderabad’s Sandeep Sharma. “Our plan was to bowl wide to him. But he played
the reverse slap well today. Those kinds of shots don’t always come off, but it was his day.”