Young, dynamic cricketer Rishabh Pant had a massive task of bailing India out in their semi-final match against New Zealand at the Old Trafford in Manchester. The Men in Blue lost a couple of quick wickets in the form of skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who had scored five centuries in this World Cup.
Thereafter, the 21-year-old Pant came to bat and he saw KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik perish cheaply as well. Pant curbed his natural instincts and stitched together a partnership of 47 with Hardik Pandya. Unfortunately, the southpaw ran out of patience and played a rash slog sweep off Mitchell Santner to be caught by Colin de Grandhomme at deep mid-wicket. The Uttarakhand-born could only manage 32 off 56 balls with the help of four boundaries. India was reduced to 71/5 in 22.5 overs.
He could have chosen a different option
India eventually ended up losing the game by 18 runs and crashed out of the mega event. After bowing out of the tournament, Kohli backed Pant, saying that he is on a learning curve and will mature with time. The 30-year-old Kohli also lauded him for the stand with Hardik that somehow steadied the ship for India.
“He’s still young. I made many errors when I was young in my career and he will learn. He will look back and think yes, he could have chosen a different option in that situation and he realises that already,” Kohli was quoted as saying in the post-match press conference.
“He is an instinctive player and did well to overcome that situation and stringing a partnership with Hardik. I think the way they played after the loss of three wickets, four wickets rather, was quite commendable. I am sure he will reflect on it and he will come out stronger,” he added.
Pant got to make his World Cup debut in the match versus England at the Edgbaston in Birmingham after Vijay Shankar developed a toe niggle. Then, the young turk plied his trade in the games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well. In nine ODIs thus far, Pant has 209 runs at an average of 26.12 and is expected to have a bright future in the offing.