An extraordinary piece of batting from Rishabh Pant has left the cricketing world gobsmacked during India's opening T20 defeat against England.
Jason Roy and Jofra Archer played the lead roles as England thrashed India by eight wickets.
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Chasing a modest 125, Roy hit a confident 49 as England romped home in 15.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
Even though his side was comprehensively beaten, India keeper-batsman Pant still managed to dominate the headlines after playing a shot described by England great Kevin Pietersen as "the greatest shot that’s ever been played in cricket".
The diminutive Pant is fast becoming one of the most exciting batsmen to watch in the world and he added another astonishing highlight to his ever-growing highlight reel against England.
Taking on the blistering 145km/h pace of England's Jofra Archer, the India star launched the England quick for six with a shot that was as audacious as it was effective.
The normally left-handed Pant switched grips and sent Archer's thunderbolt over the boundary with a reverse paddle shot left commentators and fans in disbelief.
“Oh well, well, well. This is Rishabh Pant! Stop what you’re doing, just come and watch,” Harsha Bhogle shouted from the commentary box.
“If a lot of you are gasping at home, all I can tell you is that three of us with the microphone in hand (are) doing the same.”
Unfortunately for Indian fans and neutrals, Pant didn't hang around for much longer at the crease after falling to Ben Stokes for 21.
It was somewhat typical of an Indian batting performance that skipper Virat Kohli - who was out for a duck - said simply wasn't good enough.
England openers set up dominant win
In contrast, England's Roy and Jos Buttler put on 72 in a blazing opening stand. Roy, one of a group who missed England's 3-1 hammering in the Test series, hit three sixes and four fours in a spectacular return to form.
Buttler fell lbw to leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for 28 and Roy fell one short of a half century when Washington Sundar trapped him lbw.
"I'll take 49 and a comfortable victory for the team any day," said Roy.
England skipper Eoin Morgan said his limited-overs team is not carrying the weight of England's Test defeats.
"We have been on tours before, where possibly the white-ball guys have played first and we have not played well and it has not lingered into the Test matches," said Morgan.
Dawid Malan finished on 24, including the six that won the game, and Jonny Bairstow, scored 26 off 17 balls to finish off the spectacle in front of one of the biggest crowds in a sports stadium since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.
Authorities allowed 55,000 tickets to go on sale in the 110,000 capacity stadium, but they did not give the crowd figure.
The Indian fans still roared on as Malan and Bairstow put on an unbroken stand of 41 after Archer took 3-23 in a fiery opening attack on the Indian batsmen.
Morgan won the toss and fielded first with India slipping to 4-48 after Kohli fell for a duck off the bowling of leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
Kohli blamed the loss on a "below par batting performance" by his side.
"There was a lack of execution of some of the shots. We have to come back with much more intent and clarity of plan. The wicket did not allow you to play the kind of shots you wanted to," he added.
Archer claimed KL Rahul who hit an inside edge on to the stumps. Fellow quick Mark Wood rattled Shikhar Dhawan's stumps as he worled up speeds upto 152 kmph (over 94 mph).
Shreyas Iyer scored his third T20 fifty and put on 54 for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya, who smashed 19, to boost the Indian total.
But Archer, suffering from an injured elbow and who received strong support from Mark Wood, broke the partnership with Pandya's wicket and then took Shardul Thakur with his next ball.
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