Buttler fifty, Jitesh heroics power Punjab to 189/5 vs Rajasthan
On a day, when their leading run-getter Shikhar Dhawan (12 from 16b) struggled to get going, Bairstow (56 off 40 balls) looked effortless once he had settled down and reached his first IPL fifty this season, eighth overall, in 34 balls.
Bairstow however failed to convert it into a big one as Punjab lost three wickets for 30 runs in the middle overs with current 'Purple Cap' holder Yuzvendra Chahal denting their progress with his triple-strike (3/28).
Chahal, who had just two wickets from the last four matches, started to look threatening again, stalling their progress in the middle overs.
But it was little known Jitesh who came up with his career-best IPL score and lit the stage on fire with his clean-hitting skills as Punjab scored 67 runs in the last five overs to prop up their total.
Promoted at No. 5 ahead of Liam Livingstone (22 off 14 balls), Jitesh clobbered four boundaries and two sixes in his unbeaten 38 from 18 balls.
Electing to bat, it was all about Bairstow early on. The English swashbuckler had managed just 80 runs from seven appearances this season, at a lacklustre strike rate of 105.26, which did raise questions avout his place in the playing eleven.
The Agarwal-led side kept their faith in Bairstow and the skipper even sacrificed his opening slot in their last match (vs Gujarat Titans).
Dhawan looked impatient and conceded a maiden against Trent Boult early on and finally departed off a superb one-handed catch running backwards by Jos Buttler.
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