Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone blasted superb half-centuries to power the Punjab Kings to a thumping 54 run win in a must-win match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2022 match at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai on Friday, Ma7y 13, 2022.
Bairstow has taken his batting to another level after being promoted as opener. He struggled in his first seven games, before he turned things around with a quickfire 56 from 40 balls against the Rajasthan Royals after he had replaced Captain Mayank Agarwal as the opener.
Bairstow continued in the same vein against RCB, thrashing the bowlers to all parts of the Brabourne stadium.
Josh Hazlewood was smashed for a couple of sixes and a four in his first over while Mohammed Siraj was taken apart for three sixes and a four as the England right-hander raced to his fifty from just 21 balls -- his fastest in the IPL -- inside the Powerplay.
Punjab had raced to 83/1 in the Powerplay courtesy of Bairstow's stunning assault and there was no looking back from that point onwards.
Bairstow fell after a quickfire 66 from 29 balls after which the RCB spinners -- Wanindu Hasaranga and Shahbaz Ahmed -- kept things in the middle overs.
Between the 7th and 15th over, Punjab slowed down quite a bit, scoring 69 runs in the nine-over period at a run rate of 7.7, losing three wickets in the process.
It was then Livingstone's turn to show his prowess with the bat. The right-hander, who has hit 29 sixes in 12 games, showed great cricketing sense as he played out the dangerous Hasaranga with caution while taking the attack to Shahbaz, hitting him for a couple of sixes and as many fours.
At one point, it looked like RCB would stop Punjab under 200, as Mayank Agarwal (19) and Jitesh Sharma (9) perished in the space of nine balls.
Livingstone, who was batting on 43 from 30 balls at one stage, went after the struggling Hazlewood in the 19th over, thrashing the Australian seamer for two sixes and two fours, to get 24 from the penultimate over.
He eventually perished in the final over to Harshal Patel, who gave away just four runs in the 20th over, but Livingstone's blazing 70 from 42 balls had ensured Punjab finish on a huge 209/9 in their 20 overs.