'If you're under pressure, just give the strike to Rishabh Pant': Tristan Stubbs enjoying partnerships with DC skipper | Crickit

'If you're under pressure, just give the strike to Rishabh Pant': Tristan Stubbs enjoying partnerships with DC skipper

Apr 12, 2024 02:25 PM IST

Tristan Stubbs has been one of the best players for the Capitals in the 2024 season so far, smashing 174 runs in five games.

In just five matches after his return to competitive cricket, Rishabh Pant has already shown why his comeback was so eagerly awaited. Despite a slow start as captain, with the Delhi Capitals losing four of their five IPL 2024 matches, Pant's batting form has remained impressive. He has notched up two half-centuries, one of which was instrumental in a victory against the five-time champions Chennai Super Kings.

Delhi Capitals' skipper Rishabh Pant and Tristan Stubbs celebrate their partnership during the match against Kolkata Knight Riders (ANI)
Delhi Capitals' skipper Rishabh Pant and Tristan Stubbs celebrate their partnership during the match against Kolkata Knight Riders (ANI)

While his innings against CSK served as a potent reminder to the cricketing world of his formidable skills – it was his first 50+ score since his return – Pant’s subsequent half-century against the Kolkata Knight Riders showcased his full range of abilities, including a blistering 28-run over against Venkatesh Iyer that was a hark back to Pant’s early IPL days. At the other end of the DC captain’s power-hitting prowess against the Knight Riders was Tristan Stubbs, who acknowledges the calming influence Pant has on his batting partners.

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Stubbs has himself emerged as the Capitals' most reliable batter in this season. With three fifties to his name, including a spectacular unbeaten 71 off 29 balls against the Mumbai Indians, Stubbs has become an integral part of the team's batting lineup. During the game against KKR, Stubbs shared a crucial 93-run partnership with Pant, highlighting the duo's complementary styles.

"It helps that he (Pant) is left, and I'm a right-handed batter, so there are different match-ups. He'd say he might fancy a particular guy; to be fair, he doesn't even say that! He just plays the shots and takes the bowler on. So, that's the left-right combination, and we complement each other quite well,” Stubbs told Hindustan Times.

It was pointed out by many that Rishabh Pant seemed rusty in his initial batting outings; Tristan Stubbs vehemently refutes such suggestions. Having observed the wicketkeeper-batter closely during their time together at the franchise, Stubbs asserts that Pant appeared in peak form even during net sessions before the season, consistently dominating the bowlers. The young South African, who currently leads Delhi Capitals' batting charts this season with 174 runs in five matches, emphasizes that Pant's presence has positively benefited his own performance on the 22 yards, too.

"He didn't look rusty even before the tournament. We saw him in the practice games, and he was whacking them (bowlers) everywhere. (We knew) it was only a matter of time before he made runs.

“It is nice to bat with him because when you're feeling the pressure, you just need to take a run, and he will do something spectacular. He's a gifted player,” says Stubbs.

‘Need to be clinical’

The Delhi Capitals face a daunting task against the in-form Lucknow Super Giants in their upcoming Indian Premier League match on Friday. The LSG enter the contest as strong favourites, while Delhi Capitals are struggling and appear to lack a clear backup plan, as evidenced by their recent 106-run defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders.

This loss, coupled with a previous defeat to the Mumbai Indians, has left Delhi Capitals at the bottom of the points table with the worst net run rate (-1.370). A primary concern for Delhi Capitals is the composition of their Indian pace attack, which currently lacks vigour and impact.

Stubbs, who has largely been the standout performer for the Capitals this season so far, says his runs mean “nothing” when the team is not getting the results. “It's pretty satisfying on a personal level to have made some runs but unfortunately, it's a team game. If the team is not winning, your runs mean nothing,” says the South African youngster.

Stubbs, however, is hopeful of a comeback. “We need to be a little more clinical in those big moments and hopefully, get a few wins.”

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