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IPL 2022: “It's not easy” – PBKS coach Anil Kumble lauds Mayank Agarwal for sacrificing his spot for Jonny Bairstow

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Mayank Agarwal | BCCI-IPL

Anil Kumble, the head coach of the Punjab Kings (PBKS) and a great India leg-spinner, remarked on Friday (May 13) that the decision to open the innings with Jonny Bairstow is paying off. Kumble reflected on the change in batting order after PBKS beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 54 runs in Match 60 of IPL 2022 in Mumbai.

Jonny Bairstow and Shikhar Dhawan continued to open the innings, with skipper Mayank Agarwal dropping to No. 5. Mayank, a prolific opener in the IPL in recent years, has been batting in the middle order to allow Bairstow and the veteran Dhawan to open at the top.

After Faf du Plessis won the toss and chose to field at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, Bairstow and Dhawan put on 60 runs for the first wicket in just 30 balls as PBKS got off to a flying start. In the powerplay, PBKS reached 84, the highest total in the ongoing season after the first six overs.

Also Read: CBI books 3 persons in connection with alleged match fixing, betting in IPL 2019; Pakistan angle being probed

After the team's stunning win over RCB, Kumble spoke to Star Sports on Mayank's choice to give up his opening spot to aid the team's chances of winning.

“He (Bairstow) is an exceptional player. His experience at the top of the order it's not easy for Mayank who has done exceptionally well at the top to sacrifice his place and come down the order,” Kumble said.

“We felt that we needed an experienced guy in the middle as well with Levy, Jitesh and Rishi. So, Jonny went up the order and he has done a brilliant job His intent in the powerplay is amazing and the way he sort of took the game away from RCB in the first overs that set the tone.

“He is a very important player for us. Five games back, we sort of decided that the experienced guys would take the initiative. I am really glad that Jonny at the top of the order has paid off,” he added.

Bairstow's blitz of 29-ball 66 and Liam Livingstone's calculated 42-ball 70 combined for a total of 209/9 in 20 overs for Punjab Kings. Despite some excellent death bowling by RCB, Punjab reached a total of over 200 with captain Mayank scoring 19 off 16 at No. 5.

Kagiso Rabada (3/21), Rishi Dhawan (2/36), and Harpreet Brar (2/37) excelled with the ball, as did the miserly left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh, who concluded with 1/27 from his four overs.

With 12 points from as many games, PBKS climbed into sixth position on the IPL 2022 points table, two points behind fourth-placed RCB. PBKS has two more games left, and a win in both of them should almost guarantee them a playoff spot.

In their next match, PBKS will face the Delhi Capitals on Monday, May 15.

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