One of the most intriguing and endearing aspects of the Indian Premier League is watching the young domestic talents make their mark playing against the superstars of the game. Over the years, there has not been any dearth of such specials talents and their special moments. Right from the inaugural edition where the likes of Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja announced their arrival, there has been a steady flow of some eye-catching performances from the rookies. Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Shreyas Iyer all grabbed their opportunities early and made their mark. And now, add to that list Delhi Daredevils' Rishabh Pant.
Playing only his third game of his maiden IPL season, Pant blazed his way to a 40-ball 69-run knock to help Delhi to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over table-toppers Gujarat Lions on Tuesday. An opening batsman and a wicketkeeper by trade, Pant had to bat lower down the order in his previous two games and had contributed 4 and 20. On Tuesday, he was promoted up the order against Gujarat and the 18-year-old showed what he is capable of by clobbering his maiden IPL half-century off just 25 balls en route to becoming the second youngest player to score an IPL fifty. He even outscored his in-form and more experienced opening partner Quinton de Kock during a 115-run opening wicket association.
This however, is not the first time Pant has hogged the limelight. In his first-class debut for Delhi, Pant had cracked a fifty playing alongside former Under-19 captain Unmukt Chand in October last year. Then, playing in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup in the Bangladesh, Pant, the vice-captain of the Indian team, smashed the fastest fifty in the tournament's history off just 18 balls against Nepal and eventually ended up scoring 78 runs off just 24 balls with nine fours and five sixes at a jaw-dropping strike-rate of 325.