Punjab Kings (PBKS) scripted a stunning victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday in Mumbai to boost their chances of making the playoffs. The 54-run win did not just move them to the sixth spot in the points table, they margin of victory also handed them a positive net run rate. Following the win, Punjab Kings head coach Anil Kumble hailed captain Mayank Agarwal on his decision to move down the order and allow Jonny Bairstow to open for the team which paid dividends on Friday night as the batter scored 66 off 29 in PBKS's emphatic win. (Follow IPL 2022 full coverage)
Mayank has been a successful opener in IPL over the last few years and he continued to do so at the start of this season where he was named the new skipper of PBKS. But in a bid to maximise the returns in the powerplay, Mayank decided to sacrifice his opening spot to move down the order and allow Bairstow to take the top spot alongside Shikhar Dhawan.
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On Friday, the openers stitched a 60-run stand in just 30 balls after PBKS were put to bat before the team finished the powerplay with 84 runs on the board, the highest score in the phase in this season.
Speaking to Star Sports at the end of the RCB game, Kumble opened up on Mayank's decision that helped the team boost their playoff chances.
"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 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.
Mayank walked in at No.5 to score 19 off 16 as PBKS finished with 209 for nine in 20 overs. Besides Bairstow's early blitz, his compatriot Liam Livingstone played a crucial knock with with his 42-ball 70.
In reply, RCB were folded for just 155 which subsequently dented their chances of making the next round.
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