Rishabh Pant On DC's Win Over CSK: 'Always Had Self-Belief That I'll Come Back'

Rishabh Pant returned to competitive cricket in this IPL after recovering from a life-threatening road mishap in December 2022, and this was his first fifty in three games this season

(AP Photo/ Surjeet Yadav))
Delhi Capitals' captain Rishabh Pant, right, share a light moment with Chennai Super Kings' MS Dhoni at the end of the Indian Premier League cricket match between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings in Visakhapatnam, India, Sunday, March. 31, 2024. (AP Photo/ Surjeet Yadav))

After making an excellent fifty against Chennai Super Kings in their IPL game, Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant on Sunday said he always had the self-belief of making a comeback to top-tier cricket. (Scorecard |More Cricket News)

Pant clobbered four boundaries and three maximums, including his trademark hand-off-the-bat six, during his 32-ball 51 that powered DC to a competitive 191 for 5 against CSK, and eventually to a 20-run win.

Pant returned to competitive cricket in this IPL after recovering from a life-threatening road mishap in December 2022, and this was his first fifty in three games this season.

"One and a half years...this is something I have built my life on. I still have to keep learning as a cricketer," Pant said when asked if he ever thought that he might not be able to play such shots again.

"I had self-belief that whatever happens, I have to come back to the ground and I didn't think about anything else," he said during the post-match presentation.

Pant seemed to struggle a bit initially but he accelerated in the final overs as 43 runs came in the last three overs.

"As a cricketer I've to give my 100 percent. Took some time initially as I haven't played much cricket in the last 1.5 years," he said.

Pant also lauded bowlers for the win as pacers Khaleel Ahmed (2/21) and Mukesh Kumar (3/21) limited CSK to 171 for six.

"Bowlers have been clinical today. We've learnt from our mistake," he said.

While Ahmed shone in the powerplay, Mukesh was superb in the middle overs with his variations and change of pace.

Asked if this would be the roles of the two bowlers from now on, Pant said: "It will depend on match to match, but if Mukesh can bowl at the death it'll be great."

Prithvi Shaw, playing his first game this season, made a 27-ball 43 and Pant said: "He's been working hard from the last two weeks (Shaw). We thought it's time to give him a chance and he flourished."

It was CSK's first loss after two wins and skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad did not want to start worrying.

"After two good games you can expect the third game to go below par and that's nothing to worry about. Just two or three hits here and there, in the field if we had stopped one or two boundaries it could have been different," he said.

Gaikwad was also happy with the way the bowlers came back to keep DC to 191 for 5, especially after they were 93 for no loss at one stage.

"I think I was pretty much happy with the way they (bowlers) came back after the start (powerplay). Restricting them to 191 was a good effort. The pitch was on the better side in the first innings. There was extra seam movement and spongy bounce in the second innings," he said.

Chasing the total, CSK didn't have a good start as both their openers got out quickly.

"I felt he (Rachin Ravindra) was missing it by a big margin. We couldn't get going in the first three overs and that was the difference. At the halfway stage it was getable," he said.

"We couldn't capitalize and we were always behind. We didn't get the big over to reduce the run rate."

Ahmed was awarded the player of the match and he attributed his success to the hard grind in the domestic season.

"I have worked hard in the domestic season. Played a lot of matches in the last six months which has helped me know my game better.

"Love it when the ball swings and the batters get beaten. I have tried to figure out how I can keep myself fit. Red-ball game teaches you a lot about how the ball is coming out of the hand. My ultimate goal is to play for India."