<
>

Power-packed Pant bullies Rajasthan Royals

All-star of the match

Rishabh Pant isn't a technically correct batsman, but he bullies attacks with raw power. He owns the record for India's fastest first-class hundred (48 balls) as well as India's fastest T20 hundred (32 balls). On Wednesday night at Feroz Shah Kotla, his home ground, Pant bullied Rajasthan Royals' attack with 69 off 29 balls at a strike rate of 237.93 and a smart strike-rate of 302.75 - ESPNcricinfo's new metric to make sense of performances in the shortest format.

Royals' quicks Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer attempted to cramp Pant for room and bounce him out. Stokes even hit Pant on the mid-riff with a skiddy delivery, but the Daredevils batsman shook that off and kept swatting the short balls away like flies. His head often falls over to the off side, but the hands generate the power. It is for this power that Delhi Daredevils retained him for INR 8 crore (approx. USD 1.25m).

His first 37 runs all came on the leg side, so the plan now from Dhawal Kulkarni was to bowl wide yorkers. Kulkarni, however, went too full, and watched Pant drill back-to-back cover drives. Later in the night, he dropped a rampaging Jos Buttler behind the stumps, but his 50th T20 match eventually turned out to be a memorable one, with Daredevils edging Royals by four runs via the DLS method.

The wow moment

When Stokes bowled a slower cutter outside off, Pant was nowhere close to the pitch of the ball and lost his shape, but he still let his hands flow through the line and brutally launched it over extra cover for six. On a night when 25 sixes were hit, this one stood out.

The numbers

  • Pant is currently the top scorer in IPL 2018 with 375 runs in eight matches at a strike rate of 180.28

  • He had a strike rate of 200 against every Royals bowler except Shreyas Gopal

  • Pant is the only batsman to have a strike rate of over 150 in the Powerplay, middle overs, and death overs this season

  • This was Daredevils' first win over Royals since 2012

What they said

"Rishabh Pant another outstanding young Indian player ... The IPL is creating so opportunities for the Young Indian talent to flourish & be exposed to pressure environments.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan, on Twitter

"We are being positive because we know if we lose one more match we are out of the tournament. Intent is the same in every match we play."
Rishabh Pant speaks like he bats