Danish Kaneria, the former Pakistan spinner believes Rishabh Pant’s match-winning hundred in the third ODI against England on Sunday (July 17) was similar to the iconic partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif in the Natwest Series Final in 2002.
With India two down for 21 runs, the southpaw had to curb his natural instincts initially in pursuit of the 260-run target set by England. The wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant found an ally in Hardik Pandya at the other end and stitched together a crucial partnership for the fifth wicket.
Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 125* and his 133-run partnership with Hardik Pandya helped India chase down 260 in the final ODI of the three-match series at Manchester and win the series 2-1.
Danish Kaneria Opined That Rishabh Pant’s Innings Reminded Him Of Yuvraj Singh And Mohammad Kaif In Natwest Trophy Final In 2002
The NatWest series final of 2002 remains to be one of the biggest victories in Indian cricket history. Opting to bat after winning the toss, England posted 325 for five with captain Nasser Hussain and Marcus Trescothick registering stylish centuries.
Chasing a target of 326 runs, India had a brilliant start with openers Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly producing a 106-run partnership. After the dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar in the 24th over, India was reeling at 146 for five.
Then Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif stitched together a match-winning partnership to help India stage a comeback. Yuvraj Singh registered 69 runs off 63 balls, packed with nine fours and a maximum. Meanwhile, Mohammad Kaif smashed an unbeaten knock of 87 runs off 75 deliveries, including six fours and two sixes.
Opining that Rishabh Pant rebuilt the innings just as Yuvraj and Kaif did after a top-order collapse, Danish Kaneria said: “Pant’s innings reminded me of Yuvraj and Kaif in the Natwest Trophy final. Even there, the top-order batters were gone in a collapse, the youngsters helped India cross the line.”
The former leg-spinner added: ” Pandya and Pant also similarly put up a crucial partnership. They broke the bowling unit. Pandya is in a great rhythm now, he has worked really hard on his fitness.”
Team India recently commemorated 20 years of their historic Natwest Series triumph. Chasing 326 at Lord’s, the Sourav Ganguly-led side was reduced to 146/5 at one stage. Youngsters Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh then put on 121 runs for the sixth wicket as the Men In Blue scaled the target in the final over.
India ended up reaching 326 for eight in 49.3 overs, winning by two wickets. The match also went down into cricketing folklore due to Sourav Ganguly’s celebration at the Lord’s balcony, when he took his shirt off and twirled it in the air.
Rishabh Pant Played With A Lot Of Maturity In The 3rd ODI: Danish Kaneria
Rishabh Pant’s maiden ODI century came at a time when he was under fire for his recent outings in white-ball cricket. It was a controlled knock, as he spent some time in the middle and guided his team over the line comfortably. His heroic efforts with the bat earned him the Player of the Match award.
Claiming that the Indian wicketkeeper-batter will go on to be a world-class player, Danish Kaneria said: “Rishabh Pant played with a lot of maturity, he is going to be a world-class player. There are only a few players who can match him in terms of talent. He can even convert his 100s to 200, that’s how big a player he is.”
The former Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria concluded: ” He is extremely confident as well. If you have players like Pandya and Pant, targets like these become easier to chase.”
Arguably one of the busiest cricketers going around, Rishabh Pant has been given a short break and has been rested for the three-match ODI series in the Caribbean. He is next slated to be seen in action during the five-match T20I series against West Indies.