Rishabh Pant    AFP
Rishabh Pant AFP

Rishabh Pant came out at 43 for 3 today, and rescued Delhi Daredevils (DD) with a scintillating ton, against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) easily the best bowling attack of VIVO IPL 2018 in Match 42. Pant slammed an outrageous 63-ball 128 not out (strike rate 203). Pant’s previous best was 97*, against Gujarat Lions (GL), in IPL 2017 an innings that led GL captain Suresh Raina to congratulate him affectionately on the ground. Pant’s last fifty came in 22 deliveries, including an 18-run over versus Bhuvneshwar Kumar. DD added 135 runs in the last 10 overs.

Pant was involved in two run-outs, resulting in the exit of skipper Shreyas Iyer and Harshal Patel. This probably prompted him to take the mantle in his hands. However, he didn’t change his playing style. He attacked some of the best in business, Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul and Bhuvi in particular. Bhuvi’s last two overs went for 8 boundaries, all coming from Pant’s blade.

Pant used his incredibly strong bottom hand, came to the pitch of the delivery, and scooped the full-length deliveries; such was his power that even the odd mishit or one-handed stroke cleared the fence. He hit 15 fours and 7 sixes in all. He also created several records en route:

– Pant becomes the 12th Indian to score IPL hundred (Virat Kohli has 4, Murali Vijay and Virender Sehwag have 2 each).

– Pant registered the highest IPL score by an Indian. The previous highest was Vijay’s 127. This was also the 4th-highest in IPL history, after Chris Gayle (175*), Brendon McCullum (158*) and AB de Villiers (133*).

– At 20 years 218 days, Pant became IPL’s second-youngest centurion. The record lies with Manish Pandey (19 years 253 days).

– Pant becames the second-youngest centurion of the lot, and now bags the Orange Cap (from KL Rahul).

– Pant registered the highest score for DD, going past Sehwag’s 119.

– Pant registred the joint-highest score at Feroz Shah Kotla. Gayle had also slammed 128*.

– Pant registered the highest score against SRH, going past Gayle’s 104*.