Former Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) player Piyush Chawla said Punjab Kings did not utilize Jonny Bairstow’s efficiency in the initial stage of IPL 2022.
Bairstow was slotted to bat at No.3 as veteran player Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Mayank Agarwal would open the innings in the initial phase.
The England batter was also required to bat at No.5 in one game against Chennai Super Kings. Bairstow returned with 79 runs in his first six innings at 13.1 for PBKS.
Jonny Bairstow scored successive fifties after promotion as an opener
After Bairstow’s diminishing returns with the bat, Agarwal pushed himself down the batting order to accommodate Bairstow along with Dhawan in the opening slot.
The Yorkshire batter hit back to back the fifties in his last two innings against Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to regain his sublime form.
Bairstow tore apart the RCB bowling attack as he brought up his fifty in just 20 balls and powered PBKS to 83 in the powerplay overs. Bairstow scored 66 in 29 deliveries, pounding four boundaries and seven sixes, striking over 227.
Jonny Bairstow isn’t a middle-order batter: Piyush Chawla
Chawla said Bairstow’s ability is to take the new ball to the stands and he was not fitting in the middle order. The Indian leg-spinner also said Dhawan and Bairstow’s opening stand can steer PBKS to a mammoth score.
“See we all know what kind of batter Jonny Bairstow is but he wasn’t being used like that. He was being utilized lower down the order but he isn’t a middle-order batter, he plays the new ball well. So when they used him for that, he took a few innings, and now you can see the kind of form he’s showing,” Chawla told ESPNCricinfo.
“Those are very good signs for the team. We know Shikhar Dhawan is the most effective when he plays with the straight bat and gets out trying to hit across, which isn’t his strength. So a lot will depend on the opening partnership,” he added.
Punjab Kings have won six games and lost as many in their topsy-turvy IPL 2022 campaign and are currently slotted in the seventh place on the table with 12 points and a net run rate (NRR) of +0.023.
PBKS will take on Delhi Capitals on Monday in Navi Mumbai to extend their playoffs race as the winner will strengthen its chances for the top four spot.