Young India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant failed to make an impression during India's loss against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas Trophy Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket tri-series opener on Tuesday. The young left-hander, who has been touted as MS Dhoni's replacement, struggled with the bat, scoring a run-a-ball 23. "Been a learning day again for young Rishabh Pant in international cricket," tweeted noted commentator Harsha Bhogle after were restricted to 174/5. Pant, known for his explosive strokeplay, found it hard to get going against the Sri Lanka bowling attack. The 20-year-old, who batted at No.5, hit one four and a six, helping a short ball straight to the fielder at deep fine leg. Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra sensed a joyous mood among fans as a result of Pant's poor show.
Also, it's incredible to see how many people are happy with Rishabh Pant not having a great game. Imagine if the world wanted you to fail when you were 20. #SLvIND— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 6, 2018
Interestingly, Chopra's observation wasn't off the mark as Pant was trolled for his 'slow' knock. Dhoni fans in particular took the lead in having some fun at Pant's expense.
23 runs of 23 balls in a T20 with a strike rate of 100. Dhoni should retire.— Neelkanth (@neelkanthh9) March 6, 2018
Arre sorry ye to Rishabh Pant hai.
Long way to go for this young lad.#SLvIND
God Forbid but if Dhoni would have played this kind of run a ball innings, people would have termed it as Test Innings in a T20. But now since it is Rishabh Pant, we can all chill. #INDvSL #NidahasTrophy— Abbas Haider (@abbas_haiderr) March 6, 2018
Imagine Dhoni playing a Rishabh Pant like innings, and we would have had 'legends' like Agarkar and Manjrekar asking for his retirement! Well, that's also because, people notice such experts only with such comments. Not that Pant is not good. #IndvSL— Nikhil Kharoo (@nkharoo) March 6, 2018
So how many will blame Rishabh Pant for today's loss ?— Bhupesh Dave (@Bhupesh_live) March 6, 2018
Like they do always with MS Dhoni .
This guy need to work on his fitness . #SLvIND
Kusal Perera's brilliant 66 off 37 balls and some crucial contributions from the middle-order helped the hosts beat Rohit Sharma's men by five wickets.
After the Indian batsmen put up a target of 175, their bowlers failed to make a mark as the hosts hammered the bowlers all around the park. Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal (2/37) and Washington Sundar (2/28) provided the crucial breakthroughs to control the run-flow.
Earlier, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan cracked 90 off 49 deliveries to drive India's innnigs.
The left-hander struck six fours and equal number of sixes, while scoring his fifth T20I fifty as he shared a crucial 95-run third-wicket stand with Manish Pandey (37 off 35) to take the visitors to a competitive total.
(With inputs from IANS)