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Can Pant’s 78 off 27 balls revive his World cup hopes ?

Pant and Russell provide top weekend entertainment

 

The cricket fans following IPL were highly enthralled on this weekend Sunday ,24 th March by two sensational high quality match winning knocks both played against strong bowling attacks which  provided massive entertainment . Probably IPL 2019 has seen two of its showpiece innings in this year’s edition on the same day.

First it was Andre Russell, who slaughtered a top quality SRH bowling attack in last 3 overs of the match with a ferocious  innings of 49 notout playing only 19 balls with 4 fours and 4 enormous sixes and took KKR to a sensational win from a virtual hopeless situation in a roaring atmosphere at eden gardens. And not to forget the SRH bowling included two of the best T20 bowlers in the world in Bhuvaneswar Kumar and Rashid Khan as well as Bangladesh international Shakib ul Hassan.

Then as if to emulate Russell’s feat , Delhi’s Rishab Pant played another explosive knock.  After Delhi , batting first , were well placed to accelerate ,Pant came out and absolutely toyed with the highly rated Mumbai Indians bowling attack which included the number one bowler in all formats, Jasprit  Bumrah  and also the Pandya brothers and Macclenaghan. All the MI bowlers including Bumrah went for more than 10 runs per over due to Pant’s destructive onslaught with typical leg side hitting and some fancy 360 degree strokes . Pant’s 78 notout came from 27 balls at 289 strike rate with 7 fours and 7 sixes. Two of his sixes were real standout shots ,one which he hit with one hand against new young MI bowler Samal and the other , a wristy onside flick off Bumrah worth preserving in videos. Pant totally destroyed Bumrah’s figures with ferocious hitting.  Audacity at its best !!!

This breathtaking innings of Pant again raises the debate as to who should be going to World cup as the 2nd keeper after Dhoni. Dinesh Karthik appeared to be a hot favourite for that spot as he is widely regarded as a great finisher. However after this sensational innings Pant seems to be a firm favourite to get into the World cup plane. With his high risk game he will never be as consistent like a Kohli or a Rohit Sharma but the days he plays well ,his team is  going to win most games. He is a special talent.

On his part , Pant needs to realise the importance of giving himself a little bit of time at the start of his innings in order to get more consistent scores.

Couple of days back in a joint press interaction both Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting hailed Pant as a special talent who will eventually come good. Sourav pointed out that no Indian keeper has scored test 100s in England and Australia while Ponting went to the extent saying that he would have selected Rishabh for the world cup squad to bat at fourth spot had he been an Indian selector.

Thus with both his current mentors speaking highly of him and now that he has come up with such a rare match winning knock, it’s highly likely that Pant will again feature strongly in Indian selectors radar when the final World cup squad is picked.

 

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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