Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler give England hope after brilliant IPL tons

Bairstow hits unbeaten century for Punjab Kings during world record chase against Kolkata

Punjab Kings' Jonny Bairstow scored an unbeaten ton during a world record chase of 262 against Kolkata Knight Riders. AFP
Powered by automated translation

England selectors and fans have a few more reasons to be upbeat about their title defence at the T20 World Cup in June after the misfiring Jonny Barstow gave a timely reminder of his big-hitting abilities by smashing an unbeaten century during a world record chase in the IPL.

As the England selectors pick the squad for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and US, Bairstow returned to form after being left out of the Punjab Kings team due to indifferent form.

Upon his return on Friday, Bairstow hit an unbeaten 108 off 48 balls to help his side pull off the highest successful run chase in T20 history.

Needing 262 to defeat Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens, Bairstow and find of the season Shashank Singh helped Punjab cross the finish line with eight wickets and eight balls left, breaking the record held by South Africa when they made 259 to beat the West Indies last year.

"We knew we had to go ballistic after how they batted," said Bairstow, who hit eight fours and nine sixes to be named man of the match.

"We had to take risks and thankfully they came off. I've never been faced with a target like that before. So we knew the powerplay would be important and if anything is close to being in your area you've got to make the most of it."

This came after Bairstow's fellow England star Jos Buttler hit his second century of the IPL season in what was then the joint record chase.

Coming in as an impact substitute for Rajasthan Royals, Buttler smashed an unbeaten 107 to trump Sunil Narine's first T20 century to help his team defeat Kolkata Knight Riders.

Chasing 224 for victory, Rajasthan looked in trouble at 121-6 in the 13th over but Buttler upped the ante in his 60-ball blitz to achieve the target with two wickets to spare, once again at Kolkata's Eden Gardens.

All three centuries by the England stars have come in successful chases, which will fill England fans and selectors with hope.

Star players like Ben Stokes and Mark Wood did not make themselves available for the IPL due to workload issues, and Stokes has ruled himself out of the T20 World Cup title defence. Pacer Gus Atkinson and batsman Harry Brook also are not part of this IPL.

All-rounder Sam Curran, who is currently captaining Punjab, has not been in the best of form along with all-rounder Liam Livingstone, but Kolkata Knight Riders opener Phil Salt has been a revelation as a late replacement for Jason Roy.

Will Jacks has impressed during a sorry season for Royal Challengers Bengaluru, showing ample skills with the bat and his off spin.

Which is why the form of Buttler and Bairstow is crucial for England.

Updated: April 27, 2024, 11:32 AM