Zaheer Khan added Rishabh Pant (above) has taken a leaf out of Quinton de Kock's book © AFP
Zaheer Khan added Rishabh Pant (above) has taken a leaf out of Quinton de Kock’s book © AFP

Rajkot: Delhi Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan has heaped praise on India’s Under-19 batsman Rishabh Pant after he stole the limelight by hitting a brilliant knock of 69 during the side’s eight-wicket win over Gujarat Lions in their Indian Premier League ( IPL) clash at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here last evening. Pant smashed nine boundaries and two sixes in his 40-ball knock and also shared a huge 115-run partnership with Quinton de Kock (46) for the opening wicket as Delhi Daredevils chased down the modest target of 150 runs with 16 balls to spare. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Gujarat Lions vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2016, Match 31 at Rajkot

Describing Pant’s performance as `amazing`, Zaheer said batting with an experienced player like De Kock really helped the 18-year-old perform better in the game. “I think his ( Rishabh Pant) performance was amazing. I am sure batting with someone like De Kock has really helped him. You have seen the way Quinton has been going in this tournament. He is a pure match-winner. And this kind of energy rubs on other people. Rishabh has taken a leaf out of Quinny’s book,” Zaheer said after the win. Live Cricket Scorecard:Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2016 Match 32 at Eden Gardens

The 37-year-old skipper, who bagged only a wicket in his allotted four overs, also applauded his players for their great energy on the field. “Trying to keep up with the young energy on the field. The effort on the field is to be applauded. It was a big field and the way guys ran in to save runs has to be applauded. Giving everyone freedom to express themselves on the cricket field. It’s really important to play their own brand of cricket. We go in each and every game with a specific plan and so far guys have been very supportive of that. They understand exactly what the whole group is trying to achieve together and that is what you need,” he added. Rishabh Pant: Justified team’s faith in me with match-winning knock vs Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016

Pant was also declared `Man of the Match` for his match-winning contribution. With this win, the Delhi Daredevils have climbed up to the second spot in the points table, having five wins from seven games they have played so far. They will next lock horns with Rising Pune Supergiants at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla on Thursday.