Punjab Kings have zoomed to the sixth spot thanks to a morale-boosting and dominating show against Royal Challengers Bangalore, a team they have defeated twice in IPL 2022 now. After racking up 209/9, PBKS also sparkled with the ball too as they stopped RCB at 155/9 and thus completing a massive 54-run which has improved their net run-rate significantly too.
Let’s take a look at the major talking points from what turned out to be a one-sided contest
Kings’ Opening Gambit
Jonny Bairstow was quite successful with Sunrisers Hyderabad when he opened for them. So when PBKS splurged Rs 6.75 crore to secure his services, it was expected his talents will be utilised as an opener. However, PBKS also had their captain Mayank Agarwal and the seasoned Shikhar Dhawan in the squad – both having proven themselves as openers. So, PBKS decided to use Bairstow at no.3 and once in the middle order. He fared miserably.
In five innings, he managed 49 runs. Then Mayank made the sacrifice – he demoted himself down the order and Bairstow was given his favourite spot at the top. He recorded 32 and 1 in his first two innings after promotion. Then, in his third attempt, the Englishman came into his own and scored a measured 56.
On Friday, he got back his rhythm and RCB faced the full brunt of his assault as he blazed away to a fifty and clubbed four fours and seven sixes during his 29-ball 66 to give PBKS their best opening of the season.
Livingstone’s Finishing Touch
Liam Livingstone is giving PBKS a return for every single penny they spent on landing him at the mega auction. He had dazzled for his previous franchise but in patches but for PBKS he has blossomed and shown why he’s rated so highly. Friday was another such day when Livingstone again put on a show and raced away to his career-best score of 70 in IPL, an innings laced with five fours and four sixes. It wasn’t a blinder, rather he picked out the gaps perfectly and also used his brute strength to send the ball flying into the stands.
Kohli Dazzles But Fizzles Out Quickly
How many times this season has Virat Kohli played one beautiful shot and raised hopes that it was first of many? That his slump is finally going to end for good? Several. Against PBKS, in chase of a 200-plus total, the RCB opener showed signs of returning to his best – a beautiful cover drive in the first over for four was followed by a bottom-handed stroke for four more. And against spinner, he used his feet in the following over to smack one over the ropes. And then came Kagiso Rabada. Kohli went for a pull and the ball kissed his glove before being deflected off the thigh pad to short fine leg fielder for an easy catch extending the batting superstar’s slump.
Triple H Double H
Josh Hazlewood would like to forget this contest as quickly as possible. Why? Well just look at his figures: 0/64 from four overs. He was taken apart by Bairstow in the Powerplay and then Livingstone in the death overs – almost giving a feeling of a mini-Ashes battle in the midst of an IPL storm. On the other hand, Wanindu Hasaranga was incredible considering the treatment meted out to his other teammates. He took two wickets and allowed just 15 runs in his four overs. The other H – Harshal Patel – also fared well as he took four wickets and went for a decent 34 runs.