Updated June 1st, 2024 at 23:19 IST

Rishabh Pant stakes his claim for spot in India's playing XI, Sanju Samson disappoints

This was Rishabh Pant's first match for India since returning to competitive cricket and he showed why he is considered one of the best.

Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson | Image:Star Sports
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Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant made his international comeback in style as he smashed an unbeaten 53 off 32 balls including 4 boundaries and as many sixes. Pant showed some exceptional batting skills as he helped India post 182/5 in 20 overs against Bangladesh in their warm-up game of the T20 World Cup 2024.  

This was Rishabh Pant's first match for India since returning to competitive cricket in March. Pant had been sidelined for the past one and a half years due to serious injuries sustained in a horrific car accident in December 2022. However, Pant showed no signs of rustiness, batting as if he had never missed any cricket recently.

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Rishabh Pant also staked his claim for the wicket-keeper's position in the Indian playing XI for the T20 World Cup 2024. Sanju Samson was also given an opportunity but he failed to take it with both hands. Samson opened the batting alongside skipper Rohit Sharma but got out for 1 off 6 balls to Shoriful Islam's bowling. 

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India vs Bangladesh T20 World Cup 2024 warm-up

There were also handy contributions by Suryakumar Yadav (31, 18b, 4x4) and Hardik Pandya (40 not out, 23b, 2x4, 4x6) as India moved to a competitive total despite not having any single big partnership in their innings.

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But the primary architect of that fighting total was Pant.

Pant, who returned to competitive cricket during the IPL 2024, had shown excellent touch for Delhi Capitals while making 287 runs from 13 matches with three fifties and at a strike-rate of 155.

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The left-hander continued his fine touch here too, carting Bangladesh bowlers around.

There were those typical Pant shots, which are hard to describe, such as a stand-still flick off Sowmya Sarkar to fine-leg for a boundary or that one-handed six off off-spinner Mahmudullah Riyaz.

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Pant, who smashed Shakib Al Hasan for two successive sixes, brought his fifty in 32 balls with a boundary off Shakib before walking back to the pavilion.

Shivam Dube, who was dropped on four, could not exploit the let-off and was dismissed for a 16-ball 14 and at that stage India were 130 for four after 14.4 overs.

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Also Read: 'The management should make a place for...': Suresh Raina selects India's standout for T20 World Cup

India were in need of some acceleration and Pandya provided just that. Pandya, who was dropped on 26, slammed three consecutive sixes off left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam which were a treat to watch for their power and neat execution.

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His innings and confidence might have immensely pleased the team management and himself after a modest outing as Mumbai Indians’ captain in a season where he was subjected to intense professional and personal scrutiny.

Bangladesh also suffered an early scare as Islam walked off just before bowling the final ball of the innings, as Tanzim Hasan completed the over.

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Now, it’s over to Indian bowlers to tick a few boxes ahead of their World Cup opener against Ireland on June 5 here. 

(With PTI inputs)

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Published June 1st, 2024 at 23:03 IST