Rishabh Pant scored his maiden ODI hundred as India claimed a comprehensive five-wicket win over 50-over world champions England at Old Trafford on Sunday. With the triumph, the visiting team also claimed the three-match ODI series 2-1. Hardik Pandya picked up career-best 4/24 before Pant notched up a majestic hundred in the 260 chase.
The left-handed Pant, known for his fearless batting display, reached the three-figure mark in the 27th game of his ODI career. He remained unbeaten on 125 and even hit five consecutive fours off David Willey, leaving India with just three runs to score in the 43rd over.
With his match-defining ton, Pant also joined MS Dhoni in the elite list of wicketkeepers with a century in the ODI format while chasing. Dhoni had scored an unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005. Pant claimed the second spot with 125 not out, while Rahul Dravid is in the third position with 109* against West Indies in 2002.
In a SENA nation, Pant tops the list of highest scores by an Indian stumper in a successful run-chase. He eclipsed Dhoni, who had scored an unbeaten 87 in Melbourne.
Pant said he will cherish the match-defining 125 for the rest of his life. He teamed up with Pandya, who hit 71 off 55 balls. The pair revived the innings after India struggled at 38 for three in the ninth over.
"Hopefully I remember (this knock) for the rest of my life. I was focusing on one ball at a time when I was batting. When your team is under pressure and you bat like that .. something I aspire to do. I always enjoy playing in England, at the same time enjoy the atmosphere and the situation," said Pant in the post-match presentation.
The Pant-Pandya pair stitched together 133 runs for the fifth wicket to set up a comfortable win. While Pandya fell to a spectacular catch by Ben Stokes, Pant took India home with 47 balls to spare.
Earlier, England were bowled out for 259 in 45.5 overs after Pandya picked up four wickets with his short-ball ploy.
"The more you play the more experience you gain. Nothing to take away from the bowlers, it was a good wicket to bat on and the bowlers did a commendable job to restrict them, they were brilliant not only today but for the entire series."