Imran Tahir Wants Jonny Bairstow To Open For Punjab Kings In IPL 2022 To Maximize Powerplay

Jonny Bairstow (Punjab Kings)
Jonny Bairstow (Punjab Kings)

Imran Tahir, the former Purple Cap winner previewed Tuesday’s (May 3) all-important clash between the Punjab Kings and Gujarat Titans. The 43-year-old spinner believes the Punjab Kings should open with Jonny Bairstow to cash in on the powerplay.

Punjab Kings have had an inconsistent top order thus far, with Shikhar Dhawan being the chief accumulator. Jonny Bairstow, who missed the first few games due to national duty, has batted at number three; however, he hasn’t had much success. The England batter has made only 79 runs at 13.17 in six matches while batting in the middle-order.

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (Image Credit: Twitter)

Imran Tahir Reckons Mayank Agarwal Is A Knock Away From Regaining Form And Wants Jonny Bairstow To Open To Maximize Powerplay

Imran Tahir feels Punjab Kings skipper and opener Mayank Agarwal must take some time, play positively, and is a knock away from regaining form. The former CSK spinner wants Jonny Bairstow to open the innings as his presence can help the Punjab Kings maximize the powerplay- the first 6 overs.

He said: “Mayank Agarwal is a consistent player, but we have seen several players struggling for runs this year. However, I think Mayank must back himself, take more time at the crease, and play positively so that he regains his form. I think he is one knock away from that and if he clicks in those crucial games, his form can come back.”

Jonny Bairstow. (Image Credits: Twitter)
Jonny Bairstow. (Image Credits: Twitter)

“I would like to see Jonny Bairstow open because he is dangerous during the powerplay. He played some good knocks in the Mzansi Super League in the powerplay and deserves to open the innings.”

The South African has urged the other batters to step up and support Shikhar Dhawan.

In this regard, Imran Tahir elaborated: “If we remove Shikhar Dhawan, no other batter has shown consistency. Hence, it is a concern for the Punjab Kings as they cannot rely on any other batter during challenging situations. Other batters need to step up and play positively. If not, Shikhar Dhawan has to take responsibility and play a big knock and carry the team’s fortunes.”

With 307 runs in nine innings, Shikhar Dhawan is the highest run-getter for the Punjab Kings so far. His team’s captain, Mayank Agarwal, has only managed 161 runs in eight games at 20.12, striking at 128.80.

Imran Tahir Feels Kagiso Rabada Hasn’t Taken Many Wickets To His Liking

Imran Tahir noted that opposition teams have prepared better for Kagiso Rabada due to which he hasn’t earned much success. However, Imran Tahir feels the speedster has an extra responsibility moving forward.

“Kagiso Rabada has proved numerous times that he is a match-winning bowler and is known for taking wickets. I feel he is bowling well, but he is not getting as many wickets as he would like. While Arshdeep is doing decently, Rabada has the responsibility and Punjab signed him so that he performs as he did in the past 2-3 seasons. I think every season is different and teams plan differently. Hence, they likely have plans against Rabada due to which he hasn’t been much successful. I still feel he is bowling well.”

Kagiso Rabada celebrating a wicket. (Credits: Twitter)
Kagiso Rabada celebrating a wicket. (Credits: Twitter)

Although Kagiso Rabada has 13 wickets in eight IPL 2022 games at 18.46, his economy rate of 8.27 is on the higher side. Punjab Kings will want him to deliver more impactful spells in their remaining games. The last time Gujarat Titans faced Punjab Kings, Rahul Tewatia hit back-to-back sixes with 12 needed off two balls to pull off a miraculous victory. Since then, such wins have become the Gujarat Titans’ signature.

PBKS will count on their senior batters, who have time and again failed to live up to their reputations. Shikhar Dhawan has performed in patches, while Jonny Bairstow has not been in the touch fans would have expected him to be.  On the bowling front, Kagiso Rabada and Arshdeep Singh have been superb. Rishi Dhawan is another interesting addition to the XI and has been making good contributions with both bat and the ball.

Shahrukh Khan can prove to be a good fit in place of Jitesh Verma, considering his reputation to finish the matches.

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