England wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow was happy to be back at the top of the order and help Punjab Kings (PBKS) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 54 runs in the 60th match of the ongoing IPL 2022 on May 13 at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
Bairstow arrived late for the ongoing IPL 2022 and he initially started in the middle order, where he struggled to find his groove with the bat for the PBKS. However, later, the PBKS promoted Bairstow to the top and the skipper Mayank Agarwal moved himself down the order.
He played a fantastic knock of 66 runs off 29 balls laced with 4 fours and 7 sixes to help PBKS post RCB post 209 runs. Eventually, RCB fell 54 runs short of the target to suffer a defeat against the PBKS.
Bairstow said at the post-match press conference: “I’m happy with the way I have transitioned to opening the batting. It has been very enjoyable being back at the top. It’s one of those days. A couple of those come off and it’s your day.”
He has mostly batted in the middle order for England in T20I cricket, but he has opened the innings in a few matches and also kept wickets when Jos Buttler was not playing. The 32-year-old added, “It’s a completely different commodity playing for England and playing here. Through the middle, there’s a job to do for England. Coming here, the stats suggest I quite enjoy opening the batting.”
Bairstow stated: “It depends on what you class as a tough tournament really. Because obviously I have been caught at fine leg twice, the third man once, and run out on 19.5 overs so there is a difference between being unselfish and it being a difficult competition.”
On facing a quality bowling attack in the IPL, the England batter said: “There are many quality bowlers in the IPL and sometimes you have to try to get them off their lengths because someone like him hits that length consistently. So you have to try to get him off that length into areas you want to be hitting.”
He added, “From the end, he was bowling at, the line he was bowling was an off stump. Just think that sometimes there is balls in your area, and you have to try to take advantage of that. Sometimes it is fine lines where you might get caught on the boundary, just inside the rope, or you might get a thin edge on another one. Today was a good day. Was happy to take advantage of the powerplay.”
On being asked if there was any game plan to attack the opposition bowlers, Bairstow said: “That has generally been the ethos of how we have tried to go about all of the tournament. That has been the way in which the guys want to go about the process of the game.”
He signed off by saying, “You may have noticed sometimes we have lost wickets in clusters in the middle, which has stifled our progress on from there, but I think on the whole that was the way we wanted to try and go about it for a majority of the tournament. It doesn’t happen all the time but if we can do it more often than not, then hopefully when a couple of people stand up we can get the job done.”
(With PTI Inputs)