Rishabh Pant is unlikely to make India’s starting lineup for their T20 World Cup encounter against Pakistan on Sunday in Melbourne, but the left-handed wicketkeeper-batter was crucial to India’s victory in their last World Cup meeting in Dubai. In Shaheen Shah Afridi’s first three overs of the powerplay, India has lost both of its openers, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. In his first big event, Suryakumar Yadav showed potential but was quickly benched. Pant joined the then-captain Virat Kohli in the middle as India desperately needed a partnership.

India began to retake the lead with the Pant and Kohli combination, but the run rate remained problematic. India has scored 66 runs in 11 overs. Hasan Ali, a bowler, received the ball from Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam. Pant decided to start the game. He delivered back-to-back one-handed sixes against Hasan Ali. While the second was directly over long-off, the first was over square-leg.

Before Sunday’s Super 12 T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan, Pant reflected on his accomplishments in the tournament’s 2021 iteration.

“We were simply trying to push the run rate up since we lost early wickets and we staged a partnership – me and Virat,” I said of the time I hit Hasan Ali for two sixes in the same over. I hit him for two sixes with one hand as we sped up the run rate—that was my signature stroke, according to Pant to ICC.

India’s fourth-wicket partnership of 53 runs between Pant (39) and Kohli was unable to propel the team to a significant total. Virat Kohli’s 57 helped them manage to go to 151 for 7 in large part. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan’s record 152-run partnership helped Pakistan comfortably chase down the score.

Since that time, a lot has changed. Due to Dinesh Karthik’s superior finishing abilities, Pant gradually lost his spot in the starting XI when India named Rohit Sharma as captain. Pant emphasized the significance of an India-Pakistan match, saying there is a lot at stake since supporters from both sides are emotionally invested.

Playing against Pakistan is always unique since there is always a lot of anticipation for that game, according to Pant. “There are a lot of mixed feelings, not only for ourselves but for the fans as well. When you enter the field and begin play, you see spectators applauding here and there, which creates a distinct vibe and atmosphere. I genuinely had chills as we were singing our national song because of the strange environment, he said.