Rishabh Pant may only be 19 but he is already making a name for himself in this year’s Ranji Trophy. His latest achievement is breaking the all-time record of the fastest century in Ranji Trophy history as he smashed a century off just 48 balls for Delhi against Jharkhand at St Xavier's KCA Cricket Ground, Trivandrum.
Not only is it the fastest century in the Ranji Trophy but also the fastest by any Indian in the history of first-class cricket. Naman Ojha held the previous record when he scored a century off 69 balls against Karnataka at Indore in January 2015 but Pant’s latest feat obliterated the previous record.
His record-breaking knock included 10 sixes and 6 fours and came in the second innings of their clash against Jharkhand having already scored an 82-ball century in the first innings of the same match, which gave him the record for third-fastest Ranji century, which has now been demoted to No.4 thanks to his 48-ball effort.
In the first innings, as Delhi were left a mountain to climb thanks to Pant’s Indian U-19 teammate Ishan Kishan’s 273 which helped Jharkhand put on 493, it was Rishabh Pant’s century along with Unmukt Chand that helped Delhi get close. Now in the second innings, his blitzkrieg has given Unmukt Chand’s side an outside shot of victory on the final day when defeat looked likely after their collapse on day three following Pant’s dismissal for 117.
This was his fourth century in the last six innings in the Ranji Trophy. In his last five Ranji Trophy matches for Delhi, Pant has not only scored four centuries but has also broken the record for the fastest Ranji Trophy century and hit his career-best first-class score of 308 against Maharashtra at Mumbai.
He was eventually dismissed for 135 from just 67 balls at a strike rate of 201.49 with eight fours and 13 sixes just after lunch on day four. But considering the kind of form that he is in, all the youngster has to do is continue and a national call-up won’t be too far away.