Over the years, the Indian Premier League has been a great stage for unearthing young talent. Ravindra Jadeja, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sanju Samson, Sarfaraz Khan, and Hardik Pandya, among others, have all risen through the IPL ranks. On Tuesday (May 3), Rishabh Pant, the 18-year-old Delhi Daredevils batsman, was the latest addition to the long list; his 69 off 40 balls was vital in his side chasing down 150 runs against Gujarat Lions.
With that knock, Pant became the second-youngest IPL half-centurion, joining Samson, who has three fifties against his name.
Wisden India looks at the five youngest batsmen to have scored over fifty runs in an IPL match.
Sanju Samson, 63 for RR v RCB, Jaipur, 2013 – 18y 169d
Playing only his second IPL match, Samson lit up Rajasthan Royal’s chase of 171 with his maiden half-century in the tournament. Samson, who replaced Dishant Yagnik in the side, was promoted to No. 3, and while the move might have been a gamble, it paid handsome dividends as his 63 off 41 balls helped Rajasthan to a four-wicket win. He had the experienced Shane Watson for company. The two were associated in a crucial 68-run stand for the third wicket that took only 46 balls.
Then, as a 19-year-old, Samson scored 52 against King XI Punjab in the 2014 edition in Sharjah. A month later, his valiant 47-ball 74, helped Rajasthan to a competitive 189 for 4, but Mumbai Indians pulled of a stunning jailbreak to overhaul the target in 14.4 overs at the Wankhede stadium.
Rishabh Pant, 69 for DD v GL, Rajkot, 2016 – 18y 212d
In only his third game of his maiden IPL season, Pant blazed his way to a 40-ball 69 to help Delhi to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over table-toppers Gujarat Lions. An opener and wicketkeeper by trade, Pant had to bat lower down the order in his previous two appearances and had scored 4 and 20. Promoted as an opener against Gujarat, Pant was his aggressive best, scoring his maiden IPL half-century off just 25 balls.
Shreevats Goswami, 52 for RCB v DD, Bangalore, 2008 – 19y 1d
It was a bitter-sweet IPL debut for Goswami in the inaugural edition of the tournament. The Royal Challengers Bangalore wicketkeeper-batsman was adjudged the player of the match for a 42-ball 52 that came in a losing cause. Goswami was as impressive behind the stumps as he was in front of it – smartly stumping Tillakaratne Dilshan and affecting AB de Villiers’s dismissal. But despite his all-round effort, Bangalore slumped to a five-wicket loss.
Manish Pandey, 114* for RCB v DC, Centurion, 2009 – 19y 253d
A 19-year-old Pandey entered the annals of IPL history by becoming the first Indian to score a century in the tournament. Opening the batting with Jacques Kallis, Pandey was his sublime best, bringing up his half-century off 36 balls. He went on to score an unbeaten 114 off 73 balls that helped Bangalore beat Deccan Chargers by 12 runs, and even make it to the semifinals.
Deepak Hooda, 54 for RR v DD, Delhi, 2015 – 19y 358d
A week shy of his 20th birthday, Hooda announced his arrival on the IPL stage with a blistering half-century to power Rajasthan Royals to a thrilling three-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils. Chasing Delhi’s daunting 184, Rajasthan overcame a middle-order wobble, thanks to Hooda’s 25-ball 54, that was studded with three fours and four sixes.
(with inputs from Mohandas Menon)