Not easy for Mayank Agarwal to sacrifice his place at the top for Jonny Bairstow: PBKS coach Anil Kumble

Punjab Kings head coach and legendary India leg-spinner, Anil Kumble said on Friday that he is glad that the move to open their innings with Jonny Bairstow is paying dividends. Kumble’s comments came after the England wicketkeeper smashed 66 off just 29 balls in PBKS’ 54-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore in Match 60 of IPL 2022 in Mumbai.

Jonny Bairstow continued to open the innings along with Shikhar Dhawan as captain Mayank Agarwal dropped himself down to No. 5. Mayank, a successful opener in the IPL over the last few years, has been batting in the middle-order to allow Bairstow open at the top along with the experienced Dhawan.

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Bairstow and Dhawan added 60 runs for the opening wicket in just 30 balls as PBKS got off to a flying start after Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to field at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. PBKS got to 84 in the powerplay, the highest total after the first 6 overs in the ongoing season.

Speaking to Star Sports after the big win over RCB, head coach Kumble shed light on Mayank’s decision to sacrifice his opening spot to help the team’s cause.

“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 attempt in the powerplay is amazing and the way he sort of took the game away from RCB in the first overs that set the done.

“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.

Punjab Kings posted 209/9 on the board in 20 overs, thanks to Bairstow’s blitz and Liam Livingstone’s calculated 42-ball 70. Captain Mayank 19 off 16 coming in at No. 5 and Punjab posted a total in excess of 200 despite some fine death Bowling by RCB.

In response, RCB managed just 155 on the board as Kagiso Rabada (3/21), Rishi Dhawan (2/36), and Harpreet Brar (2/37) shone with the ball along with the misery left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh who finished with figures of 1/27 from his 4 overs.

PBKS moved to the 6th spot on the IPL 2022 points table with 12 points from as many games, 2 points behind 4th-placed RCB. PBKS have 2 more games in their hands and a win in both of them should all but assure them a spot in the playoffs.

The former finalists take on Delhi Capitals on Monday, May 15 in their next game.

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