India’s best wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant slammed his best maiden century in ODIs as the team forced England to a defeat with five wickets in both the third and final. Adding to Pant’s greatness was fellow high-achiever, all-rounder Hardik Pandya who had one of his best bowling plays in his career.
Team India walked out of the Old Trafford Cricket Ground as the victor of the series, defeating the hosting Team England with a 2-1 series win, simply the team was too close to comfort. India had to thank both Pant and Pandya for their stellar displays. The former was named Player of the Match, while the latter snatched the Player of the Series title.
"I'm quite pleased with the effort from the boys. We knew when we came here it was not going to be easy to win both legs of the white-ball series. We all put a real effort into it and it is something we are really proud of,” Team India captain Rohit Sharma said.
"It was a crucial partnership for us, putting the team in the right place and for Rishabh to come out and bat like that - we all know his talent it was just getting that big score and winning the game for us."
Pant, Pandya joins hand to defeat hosting England
Pant and Pandya worked together to ensure the team’s victory. While India had a slight slump, the duo went for 133 runs on the fifth wicket. Pandya was dismissed after he made 71 points and Pant continued what they started by adding an additional 125 points with no outs. England conceded with 47 balls to spare.
England team captain and right-handed batsman Jos Buttler praised Pant for being a “good player”. In addition, Buttler also added that the team’s batsman department could have performed better.
"It was a good wicket once you got yourself in so we were a bit light with the bat. But the start we made with the ball gave us a chance and that missed stumping cost us. Pant is a really good player and you give a player like that a second chance they are going to hurt you,” Buttler said.
"We are not quite hitting our straps as a batting unit but we are not far off. We are just not producing what we are capable of. So hopefully individually and collectively we can find a solution."
Shortly after the match ends, Pandya shared about his tag team with Pant in a press conference. The 28-year-old said that both he and Pant was only repeating what was done before in a bid to avoid taking any risks, which he strongly believed that scoring runs without losing any wickets are crucial as England could have bounced back if India lost their wickets.
"I was just repeating the same thing over and over again, it was important that we do not take any risks. The kind of talent Rishabh has and the kind of talent I have, without risks we can score runs,” Pandya said.
“It was about not losing any wicket, there was just one way through which England could have come back that was if we lost wickets in a cluster. I was repeating the same thing, to build a partnership and bring the match close.”
Pandya who had four wickets earlier when England was out with 250 inside and 50 overs also made one of his career-best bowling figures of 4/24. He also made history after hitting a double of fifty and four wickets throughout all three formats playing England.
"I told Rishabh that close the match first and then you can enjoy. He got a bit stuck when he came in and, in the end, he started playing his shots. And everyone knows when Rishabh starts playing his shots, you just sit back and let him do this own thing," he added.
Pandya and Pant will be back in action in a five-match T20I series against West Indies on July 29.