The Punjab Kings won a big game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 54 runs to heat up the competition for the playoffs at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium on Friday night. The Kings defended 209/9, restricting RCB to 155/9 in 20 overs.
This win gives the Kings 12 points, leaving them tied with the Delhi Capitals, who are ahead only on net run rate. Interestingly enough, the teams play each other next in their fight for a spot in the top four.
Post the game, the captain and the top performers with the bat for the team spoke to the media about the match, what the future holds and more.
Jonny set it up for the rest of the batters: Liam Livingstone
Liam Livingstone, who scored 70 (42) to help the team set up a massive total, was mighty impressed with the efforts shown on the field. "That's how we want to play our cricket, Jonny was outstanding and set the tone, from then on we were ahead of the game,” a smiling Livingstone said.
“It was a chance for myself to get in and assess the conditions a little bit longer than usual. It was nice to knock it around for a little bit before setting a platform to get at the end. Jonny set it up for the rest of the batters and the way we bowled was exceptional on a very good pitch,” the English batter added.
“I still thought we were 10-15 short with the size of the boundary and how good the pitch was, all credit goes to our bowlers. If we get our chance to put the opposition under pressure then make sure we do that, Jonny did that against one of their best bowlers in the tournament,” the big-hitter said.
As long as the job gets done, I am fine batting at five: Mayank Agarwal
Captain Mayank Agarwal was all praises for his boys, who brought home a much-needed win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. “We were brilliant with the bat. Wicket was holding up a bit. The way Jonny and Livi batted, it was amazing. We haven't changed a lot to be honest, just about understanding a few situations, understanding the wicket,” Agarwal said.
Agarwal further elaborated, “Have to be adaptable and flexible which we have been, which is nice. Can't be too defensive with the ball. If a batsman gets going, it doesn't matter, the boundaries don't matter these days.”
The captain also said that he didn’t mind slotting down in the batting order if the results swung the team’s way. “Two points are the most crucial thing for us. As long as the job gets done, I'm fine batting at five,” he said. After all, it is everybody’s aim to win it for the team.
He also had words of appreciation for Arshdeep Singh, who finished with 4-0-27-1. “Very very energetic person, very confident guy (Arshdeep). Enjoys his cricket. Must say he's the leader of the team. He rallies around everyone, takes up the responsibility, even goes up and speaks to the bowlers sometimes,” the captain said.
I quite enjoy opening the batting: Jonny Bairstow
Player of the Match, Jonny Bairstow, struck a blistering knock of 66 off 29 to lay the foundation for a great game for the Punjab Kings. “It's one of those days. A couple of those come off and it's your day,” he said.
He was hitting the ball well and particularly took after Josh Hazlewood, whom he scored 20 runs off of in the very second over of the match. “Many quality bowlers in the IPL and sometimes you've got to try and get them off their lengths,” Bairstow elaborated.
Further, he said, “It's a completely different commodity, playing with England and playing here. Stats would suggest I quite enjoy opening the batting. The bats are very good, I must admit.”
It is heartening to see one of the best batters find forms at such a crucial time in the tournament. With two more games remaining for the knockouts, the Punjab Kings will surely want to see more such commanding performances from the team.