India's young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant slammed his maiden ODI half-century amidst consistent criticism over his temperament and consistency in the international colours. After a series of low scores, the 21-year-old Pant impressed with a confident 71, which would give him and the team management a much-needed breathing space as he continues to be the first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman for the side.
Pant's innings came during the ongoing first ODI of the three-match series against West Indies at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai.
The youngster arrived at the crease with India in significant trouble, having lost the key wickets of KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. However, Pant steered the sinking ship alongside fellow Delhi Capitals teammate Shreyas Iyer as the duo added 114 runs for the fourth wicket. Iyer scored 70.
Rishabh Pant began slowly as he looked wary of the slow pace of the wicket, but began his attacking game in the middle-overs, allowing Shreyas Iyer to build his innings.
His first six of the innings came off Roston Chase, which set him in the groove for the rest of the innings. Pant got down on one knee and swept the ball over the deep-midwicket boundary. By the time he crossed his fifty, his strike-rate remained consistently above/in the region of 100.
Another highlight of Rishabh Pant's innings was the crowd at the Chepauk. Unlike the hostility at other stadiums, Rishabh Pant was treated to chants of his own name by the people at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, which is the den of India's legendary wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni - thanks to his incredible success with IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.
He was eventually dismissed by Kieron Pollard as he attempted a flick-six. It's a shot he has often attempted in international colours as well as in IPL to a debatable success rate. The Windies captain took the pace off the delivery, which didn't allow the ball to clear the rope.
He scored 71 off 69 deliveries, but left India in a stronger position for the lower-middle order to finish with a competitive score.