IPL 2022 | Bairstow, Jitesh lift Punjab Kings to 189/5


Jonny Bairstow signalled his return to form with a fine half-century before Jitesh Sharma’s cameo propelled Punjab Kings to a sizeable 189 for 5 against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL match on Saturday.

On a day, when their leading run-getter Shikhar Dhawan (12 from 16 balls) struggled to get going, Bairstow (56 off 40 balls) looked effortless once he had settled down and reached his first IPL fifty this season, eighth overall, in 34 balls.

Bairstow however failed to convert it into a big one as Punjab lost three wickets for 30 runs in the middle overs with current ‘Purple Cap’ holder Yuzvendra Chahal denting their progress with his triple-strike (3/28).

Chahal, who had just two wickets from the last four matches, started to look threatening again, stalling their progress in the middle overs.

The leg-spinner had skipper Mayank Agarwal for the sixth time in 10 innings and went on to dismiss Punjab top-scorer Bairstow in the space of three deliveries.

But it was little known Jitesh who came up with his career-best IPL score and lit the stage on fire with his clean-hitting skills as Punjab scored 67 runs in the last five overs to prop up their total.

Promoted at No. 5 ahead of Liam Livingstone (22 off 14 balls), Jitesh clobbered four boundaries and two sixes in his unbeaten 38 from 18 balls.

Electing to bat, it was all about Bairstow early on. The English swashbuckler had managed just 80 runs from seven appearances this season, at a lacklustre strike rate of 105.26, which did raise questions about his place in the playing eleven.

The Agarwal-led side kept their faith in Bairstow and the skipper even sacrificed his opening slot in their last match (vs Gujarat Titans).

It was a move that finally paid off against the Royals as he overcame an anxious start and took the Royals attack to the cleaners, smashing eight fours and one six in his 40-ball knock.

Dhawan looked impatient and conceded a maiden against Trent Boult early on and finally departed off a superb one-handed catch running backwards by Jos Buttler.



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