•   Monday, 16 May, 2022
Bairstow Livingstone keep PBKS alive in playoffs hunt

Bairstow Livingstone keep PBKS alive in playoffs hunt

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Jonny Bairstow (66 off 29) and Liam Livingstone (70 off 42) set up Punjab Kings' emphatic 54-run victory that pumps life into their efforts to stay alive in IPL 2022. The batters powered the side to 209 for 9 before the bowlers collectively kept RCB at bay. PBKS have now jumped up to sixth spot with that win, trailing fifth-placed Delhi Capitals only by a small NRR margin. RCB meanwhile, cling onto fourth because of their points tally, but take a significant hit to their NRR.

Shades of early-season PBKS at the PowerPlay...

...all thanks to Jonny Bairstow. The Englishman made up for all the missed games and the ones spent batting down the order. The onslaught began on the fifth ball of the innings with a straight loft for a six off Glenn Maxwell and stretched all through the PowerPlay overs.

He punished Josh Hazlewood's good length bowling with a couple of sixes in a 22-run over before going even bigger in the sixth off Mohammed Siraj, hitting one four and three sixes - one each off a good length, full and short delivery - in a 23-run over. PBKS raced away to 83 for 1 in 6 overs with Bairstow on 59 off 22.

The four-over lull before another storm

The best trick up Faf du Plessis's sleeve - Wanindu Hasaranga - brought a sense of calm to the proceedings. He and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed put a lid on the scoring, even induced a couple of streaky inside edges off Bairstow's bat. Shahbaz kept bowling outside the offstump to Bairstow to stay out of his hitting arc and eventually struck gold when the PBKS opener danced down and ended up slicing an attempt down the ground to short third man. RCB conceded just 22 runs and picked 2 wickets in the four overs after the PowerPlay.

What storm then

It kicked off in the 14th over, when he deposited one high up in the stands over long-on, and ensured PBKS finished with a 200-plus total. RCB's trusted second-half weapon Harshal Patel tried to stand in the way of a late surge as he dismissed Mayank Agarwal, but Jitesh Sharma assisted Livingstone in his endeavour to tear away. Even in the midst of such batting, Hasaranga finished with a spell of 2 for 15 in 4 overs, but the quicks who came after him bore the brunt. Jitesh and Rishi Dhawan took 15 off Harshal in the 18th over before Livingstone smashed Hazlewood two fours and two sixes in a 24-run 19th over. Hazlewood finished with horror figures of 0 for 64. Despite Harshal conceding just 4 runs in the final over and picking two wickets, PBKS finished with 209 for 9, courtesy Livingstone's 42-ball 70.

How did Mayank's 'match-up' pick workout

PBKS brought in left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar as a good match-up against RCB, who'd dismissed the trio of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell in last year's fixture. Tonight, though, Faf du Plessis and Kohli took 18 off his two overs in the PowerPlay. The move still proved to be valuable for Punjab, as he got the better of Glenn Maxwell in the middle-overs, dismissing a batter who was striking at over 200 against spinners this season.

RCB still lost three in the PowerPlay

The pair saw off left-arm spin but were tripped up by the quicks. Kagiso Rabada dismissed Kohli in the fourth over before Rishi Dhawan's double-wicket over - taking out the RCB skipper and Mahipal Lomror - to leave them at 44 for 3 in 6 overs.

The Maxwell-Patidar revival

In a phase where PBKS batted slowly, RCB managed to find the next gear. Maxwell and Rajat Patidar targeted Rahul Chahar in his first over in the eighth, with the former bringing out his switch hits and reverse sweeps. They took 18 off it and 13 and 11 off the next two from Brar and Dhawan to take RCB to 95 for 3 in 10 overs and steady the chase.

What happened next

The spin pair hit back. Chahar ended Patidar's stay with a ball outside the offstump and turning further away as the batter mistimed one to long on. Brar effectively put the biggest dent of the night in RCB's chase with the dismissal of Maxwell, who hit a flatter ball to Arshdeep Singh at deep extra cover

No way back for RCB

It was up to Dinesh Karthik but Arshdeep bowled an exceptional over in the 15th, tying down the big hitter and eventually dismissing him in a two-run over. Arshdeep operated from around the stumps and bowled a wide yorker which Karthik, expectedly attempted to slice behind point. But Mayank had Bhanuka Rajapaksa stationed at short third for just that shot, sending Karthik packing for a run-a-ball 11.

Rabada dismissed Shahbaz Ahmed in the next over to leave the last three batters with too much to get. RCB ended with 155 for 9, losing the game by a massive margin.

Punjab Kings 209/9 in 20 overs (Liam Livingstone 70, Jonny Bairstow 66; Harshal Patel 4-34) lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore 155/9 in 20 overs (Glenn Maxwell 35; Kagiso Rabada 3-21, Rishi Dhawan 2-36, Rahul Chahar 2-37) by 54 run

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