Rishabh Pant, who was criticized for his poor batting performances in the past finally made his bat do the talking against West Indies in the first ODI at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday scoring 71. Not only was this his highest ODI score but was also his maiden fifty in the 50-overs format. Meanwhile, the youngster also received tremendous support from the Chennai crowd as he showcased an enterprising performance. Pant also went on to say what it might do for him.
During the post-match press conference, when he was asked about the crowd support that he had got from the fans present at the Chepauk Stadium, Rishabh Pant said that sometimes it is important when the crowd supports a player. He then went on to say that as an individual, he was thinking of scoring big runs but was not able to get there. The 22-year-old also mentioned that he is just trying to improve every day. The wicket-keeper batsman also added that from the team's point of view, he was focussing on whatever he could do to help his team win and put up a good score on the scoreboard and in the end, he got some runs.
Here's how the Chennai crowd had encouraged Rishabh Pant:
After being asked to bat first by West Indian skipper Kieron Pollard, India were in trouble after losing the wickets of KL Rahul and skipper Virat Kohli in the seventh over. Things got even more difficult when Rohit Sharma was sent back for 36 after which youngsters Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant added 114 runs for the fourth wicket. Iyer scored 70 while Pant scored 71. Kedar Jadhav, who was making a comeback also chipped in with a 35-ball 40 as India posted 288/8 in their 50 overs.
Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul and Alzarri Joseph starred with the ball for Caribbeans with two wickets each. In reply, the West Indies looked in trouble when Sunil Ambris was trapped in front of the wicket by Deepak Chahar. However, that was the only relief for the Men In Blue as they were made to toil for wickets by the duo of Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope who hit the bowlers to all corners of the ground and were involved in a 218-run stand for the second wicket.
Both of them went on to score tons and by the time Hetmyer was dismissed for 139, the momentum was already shifted in favour of the visitors and there was no looking back for them from thereon. Meanwhile, Hope continued to playing his attacking shots and was ably supported by wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran. Hope finished unbeaten on 102- a knock which included seven boundaries and a maximum as West Indies took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.