Jonny Bairstow walks back after being dismissed against Gujarat. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Aakash Chopra reckons that despite tasting victory in their last IPL 2022 match, the Punjab Kings (PBKS) are still grappling with an unsettled batting order. The cricketer-turned-analyst pointed out that Jonny Bairstow hasn’t scored runs either in the middle or top order and opined that Mayank Agarwal might not be comfortable batting down the order.
With both Bairstow and Agarwal struggling for runs, PBKS decided to open with the former in the team’s last match against the Gujarat Titans (GT). The England batter failed again as he was back in the dugout for just one off six balls. Agarwal did not get to bat as Liam Livingstone came in at No. 4 and hammered an unbeaten 30 off 10 to lift Punjab to victory in a chase of 144.
Punjab will take on the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday (7 May), in the first match of the double-header. Previewing the fixture on his YouTube channel, Chopra hinted that Punjab might struggle due to uncertainties in their batting department. He stated:
“PBKS beat GT in the last game, but they have some issues to sort out in the batting. If Jonny Bairstow is opening, Mayank Agarwal moves down to 5. Bairstow is just not scoring runs, at the top or in the middle. Also, Mayank might find it tough in the middle-order. But with the Ashwin-Chahal combo in the opposition, Mayank might be better down the order. The batting order is an issue though.”
While Punjab skipper Agarwal has scored 161 runs in nine matches at an average of 20.13, Bairstow has 80 runs from seven games, with a best of 32.
“As long as Rishi Dhawan does a good job, PBKS’ bowing should be fine” – Aakash Chopra
Analyzing Punjab’s bowling, Chopra opined that they have four very good bowlers. He added that the fifth bowler won’t be an issue as long as Rishi Dhawan is doing his job. He said:
“In the bowling, their four main bowlers are doing well. As long as Rishi Dhawan does a good job as the fifth bowler, PBKS’ bowing should be fine. There will be some question marks over Rahul Chahar’s fitness though.”
Kagiso Rabada was the player of the match for his figures of four for 33 in Punjab’s win over Gujarat. Sandeep Sharma was economical with 0 for 17 while Arshdeep Singh and Dhawan claimed one wicket each. Chahar injured his hand during the match against Gujarat and bowled only 1.3 overs.