Punjab Kings paid a fortune for Liam Livingstone at the auction table. The Englishman hadn’t made an impact in IPL last season and one felt coach Anil Kumble might have gone a little too much for him.
AS IT HAPPENED
But on Sunday night at the Brabourne, Livingstone showed that the investment was worth every penny. It was his all-round effort that was the cornerstone of Punjab’s second win and CSK’s third loss in a row. Livingstone came in to bat at 14-2 when the chips were down and the ball was doing a bit for the CSK pacers.
But Livingstone (60 off 32 balls) was not ready to hold back. Banking on his power and hand-eye co-ordination, Livingstone attacked the CSK pacers as if there was no tomorrow. Run flowed from his bat and he found an able ally in Shikhar Dhawan (33 off 24) who kept the strike rotating.
72 came off the Powerplay overs and he got a couple of lives on 45, dropped by Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni. Livingstone stayed there and 108 came off 10 which gave Punjab the edge at that stage.
CSK bowlers fought back after that, removing Livingstone and Dhawan in quick succession, then strangling the Punjab middle-order with yorkers and change of pace.
Livingstone came into the game at a crucial juncture when CSK were trying to chase down 180. Punjab had removed the CSK top-order with some excellent seam bowling, especially by new boy Vaibhav Arora (2/21).
But after the initial jolts, Shivam Dube and Dhoni were threatening to take the game deep. Dube (57 off 30 balls), especially, looked in great touch, giving one the feeling that it would once again be one of those special CSK comebacks.
It was at this juncture that Livingstone came into the picture with his leg-spin. With the dew not playing a big role – unlike Thursday – Livingstone was able to grip the ball properly and give it a rip. Dube had to go for big shots virtually every ball and he finally induced the edge that went straight to short third man. Livingstone followed it up with a brilliant catch off his own bowling to send Dwayne Bravo back and that was virtually the game. It was just fitting that the last catch of the match was completed by Livingstone in the deep.
Showed great character tonight ! 2 points ✅ @PunjabKingsIPL #SaddaPunjab #SherSquad #IPL2022 https://t.co/0LTgudSD7i
— Mayank Agarwal (@mayankcricket) 1649014968000
While Livingstone was comfortably the hero, two new boys of Punjab Kings – paceman Arora and Jitesh Sharma (26 off 17) batting at No. 6 – deserve a special mention.
While Arora’s burst of pace and ability to move the ball had CSK in all sorts of trouble in the batting Powerplay, Jitesh seems to be another young player who can make a mark in this IPL.
Great comeback from the boys after the other night @PunjabKingsIPL 💥🙌 #SaddaPunjab https://t.co/O112a6xzbx
— Liam Livingstone (@liaml4893) 1649012889000
He showed the ability to hit clean and keep a clear mind which helped Punjab get some quick runs after losing Livingstone and Dhawan in quick succession.