'Ballistic' Bairstow stars as Punjab pull off record T20 chase

'Ballistic' Bairstow stars as Punjab pull off record T20 chase


The England star clobbered nine sixes and eight fours in his 48-ball 108

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Kolkata (AFP) – Jonny Bairstow smashed a "ballistic" unbeaten century as Punjab Kings recorded the highest successful run chase in Twenty20 cricket with an eight-wicket thrashing of Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League on Friday.

The England star clobbered nine sixes and eight fours in his 48-ball 108 to help Punjab overhaul Kolkata's 261-6 with eight balls to spare in hot and humid conditions at the Eden Gardens.

"We got off to a good start and that was key. They got off to a flier themselves so we knew we had to go ballistic in the powerplay," said Bairstow, named player of the match.

"When you've to chase 200-plus you've to take risks in the powerplay. Try and whack it as hard as possible." Shashank Singh also impressed with the bat, making 68 not out off 28 balls with eight sixes and two fours.

The previous highest run chase in T20 history was scripted by South Africa who overhauled 258-5 made by the West Indies in 2023.

"Shashank has done it all season, a lovely guy and special player. To have someone like him coming in and do that is unbelievable," added Bairstow. The match also saw the batsmen club 42 sixes -- the most ever hit in a T20 game.

'Cricket turned to baseball'

"Cricket has turned to baseball hasn't it?" said Punjab captain Sam Curran. "Guys can hit balls for long periods of time, the coaches, training, the dew, dot balls become wide after reviews and you get the extra ball. Stats are going out of the window."

He added: "Really pleased for Jonny, he's been on tour for a long time and was eager to score. Shashank, he was promoted to number four, he's been our find of the season."

Kolkata skipper Shreyas Iyer said his team will learn from the defeat. "Both teams played tremendously. You have to go back to the drawing board and see where you went wrong," said Iyer.

"Not defending hurts but it's a great lesson for the players." Punjab registered only their third win from nine games and moved to eighth spot in the 10-team competition.

Kolkata, with five wins from eight games, remain in second place. "From the dugout, I was watching the wicket. I felt the ball was coming on with good bounce,' said Shashank.

"This match, the way Jonny batted was a huge positive. It was a great learning for me, we still have five more matches to go."

Opening the Punjab innings, Bairstow put on 93 runs with impact sub Prabhsimran Singh (54) and another 85 runs with South Africa's Rilee Rossouw (26).

Prabhsimran was run out by a direct throw from Sunil Narine who also chipped in with the wicket of Rossouw in the 13th over.

Despite the two dismissals, Shashank continued to unleash big shots, making sure Punjab did not lose their nerve while chasing the big total.

Earlier, Kolkata got off to a blistering start with Phil Salt and Narine sharing 138 runs off just 69 balls for the first wicket after being put in to bat.

Narine, dropped on 16, hammered four sixes and nine fours in his 32-ball 71 before holing out to Bairstow off leg spinner Rahul Chahar.

England's Curran dismissed Salt who hit a 37-ball 75 studded with six sixes and six fours after being dropped twice by sloppy Punjab fielders.

Venkatesh Iyer chipped in with a cameo 39-run knock as Kolkata posted the highest IPL total ever at the Eden Gardens.