Rishabh Pant faces up a sharp Rubel hussain and gets beaten
by pace the very first ball. Any other batsman would have been watching the
next ball more intently and been absolutely still at the crease so that he
plays it safe. Pant is not any other batsman. He simply goes for a walk across
the stumps and disdainfully flicks the ball which is on off stump to deep
midwicket. He gets only a single. But it is more a statement than a single.
The sharp sliders of Mossadek hossain is up next. Pant tries
to be the responsible number four batsman as he plays out a couple of balls
carefully. Then, he gets rapped on the pads and there is a vociferous appeal
for LBW. Pant survives. One can almost sense that something is about to happen.
You can almost hear the inner voice of Pant going “F**k this I am teeing
off!” All it takes is one more ball. Pant is down the track depositing the
ball 25 rows back of the sight screen.
India lose two wickets in three balls play out a maiden
over. Bangladesh’s legs are firmly on the brakes. Shafiuddin steams in to bowl
the next over to Pant, hoping he can maintain the pressure and possibly snaffle
his wicket. Pant defends the first ball.
The next three balls can be described as thus.
Bangladesh are back to the strategy of minimising
Pant has already swept shakib gloriously for a four in his
previous spell. He attempts a similar shot in the next shakib over. This time
though, he plays it in the air and is caught at square leg. Pant is
disappointed. As he walks back, he practises the same shot again. This time he
mimicks playing it along the ground. The shots will not stop, he seems to say.
India complete a nervy victory courtesy a spectacular bumrah
and an intelligent pandya. While their middle order crisis is far from over,
they will look back at the phase of their batting innings when Pant played with
some satisfaction. For their middle order is in dire need of someone like Pant.
Delhi might have taken daredevilry out of their name.
Rishabh Pant still seems to have plenty of it in his game.