Livingstone, Bairstow pummel RCB bowlers, keep Punjab in playoff hunt
- Bairstow’s 66 (29b, 4x4, 7x6) and Livingstone’s 70 (42b, 5x4, 4x6) drove Punjab to 209/9, a total that proved a bridge too far for RCB who could only muster 155/9 at Brabourne stadium.
Jonny Bairstow began with a blast. Liam Livingstone finished with a flurry. The English duo, executing distinct batting roles to perfection, delivered a decisive 54-run victory for Punjab Kings against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Friday that kept them in the mix for the Indian Premier League playoffs spot.
Bairstow’s 66 (29b, 4x4, 7x6) and Livingstone’s 70 (42b, 5x4, 4x6) drove Punjab to 209/9, a total that proved a bridge too far for RCB who could only muster 155/9 at Brabourne stadium.
Even on a belter of a track, a chase of 210 called for a sound yet swift start. Virat Kohli looked in the mood for that in a 14-ball 20 that had a four driven on the up, flicked past midwicket and a six dancing down the track. Kagiso Rabada had enough of it. The Punjab spearhead tucked Kohli up with a back of the length ball that kissed Kohli’s glove, thudded into his thigh pad and looped to short fine leg.
Rishi Dhawan sent back Faf du Plessis and Mahipal Lomror in the fifth over and at 44/3 after six, RCB required a special hand. Rajat Patidar (26, 21b) and Glenn Maxwell (35, 22b) briefly combined in pursuit, but fell in a space of three balls to Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Singh Brar respectively as Punjab broke the back of RCB’s chase. And once RCB’s finisher-in-chief Dinesh Karthik sliced an Arshdeep Singh delivery to short third man in the 15th over, curtains fell on it.
Rabada ended with three wickets, though Punjab’s win was set up by Bairstow. The opener launched a stinging assault on the RCB fast bowlers, lapping up on anything short by Mohammed Siraj and picking up the good length deliveries from Josh Hazlewood. Bairstow blasted seven sixes in the powerplay, six off pacers and all on the leg side.
Punjab had a high-flying powerplay of 83/1 but were stopped in their tracks by the RCB spin duo of Wanindu Hasaranga (2/15) and Shahbaz Ahmed. The Sri Lankan leg-spinner was causing trouble with his precise lengths and wily googlies, accounting for Bhanuka Rajapaksa in his first over. The Indian left-arm spinner was as clever with his lines, keeping it outside the off stump. That line eventually got an advancing Bairstow edging one to backward point in the 10th over.
The spinners operated in tandem for six overs, conceding 40 runs with two wickets. Livingstone kept up the tempo with frequent boundaries, but Mayank Agarwal’s 16-ball 19 meant Punjab still needed a big finish for a 200-plus total. Livingstone ensured they got that with a 24-run 19th over.
Brief scores: PBKS 209/9 (L Livingstone 70, J Bairstow 66; H Patel 4/34). RCB 155/9 (G Maxwell 35; K Rabada 3/21). PBKS won by 54 runs.