International Cricket

IPL 2024 – PBKS vs DC- Rishabh Pant on his comeback, Ishant Sharma’s injury, Abishek Porel’s big hits

The story in the lead-up to Saturday’s Punjab Kings vs Delhi Capitals contest in IPL 2024 was Rishabh Pant. He batted, kept wickets, captained, and didn’t look in any discomfort, but the result didn’t go the way of his team. “I was pretty nervous,” he acknowledged when talking about his much-awaited return after more than a year following an accident in December 2022, and said that the outcome might have been a bit different had Ishant Sharma not limped off with a twisted ankle.

“Personally, I was pretty nervous, but you have to go through this when you enter the field,” Pant told the official broadcast after the game. “But this isn’t the first time you’re feeling nervous. Happy about [returning to the game] but at the same time, I think we had a par score but because we were one bowler short, because of Ishant’s injury, but can’t do much about it.”

Ishant gave away eight runs in his first over as Capitals defended 174, but bowled Shikhar Dhawan with the first ball of his second over and then got a fingertip to the ball on his follow-through off a Prabhsimran Singh drive to run Jonny Bairstow out, in the same over. But, fielding at midwicket, Ishant hurt his right ankle while trying to stop a shot, and played no further part in the game. That meant more bowling for Mitchell Marsh and Sumit Kumar than Capitals might have wanted.

“He is pretty new. But the kind of impact he made was pretty big. Really looking forward [to seeing him] this season”

Rishabh Pant on Abishek Porel

“Ishant injury was clearly evident on the field, because we were anyway playing with one bowler short, because we lacked with the bat a little bit,” Pant said when asked where the game went away from them. “But, end of the day, when Abishek [Porel] came in, he chipped in with a few runs, which were very crucial. But at the same time, we were a little short on the extra bowling and he [Ishant] got injured. I think that was the part where we lacked. Because I think the boys actually pulled it back in the end, but it’s part and parcel of the game.”

The “few runs” Pant referred to when mentioning Porel were actually 32 from just ten balls. Batting as an impact sub for Ricky Bhui, Porel walked out 138 for 7 in the 18th over, took his time, and smashed Harshal Patel for 25 runs in the final over – 4, 6, 4, 4, 6, 1 – to give Capitals something to bowl at.

“I think it’s been an amazing innings,” Pant said of Porel. “He set the innings well for us and in the end we finished on a high because of him. And congratulations to him. I think it was his third or fourth game [fifth]. He is pretty new. But the kind of impact he made was pretty big. Really looking forward [to seeing him] this season.”

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