When the big IPL auction happened, one international player every franchise wanted was England’s new big-hitting superstar Liam Livingstone and Punjab Kings, who had a big purse left, bought him for a whopping 1.52 million USD. He was the most expensive overseas buy in the IPL auction this year and to live up to the expectations of the price tag and he has so far not disappointed the Punjab Kings with his allround display - especially with his big hitting.
In the 10 innings so far, Livingstone scored 293 runs at a strike rate of 186 - which is the highest in the IPL so far and has scored three half-centuries. He failed in the first two games but then hit a 32-ball 60 against Chennai Super Kings and also picked up two wickets to win the Player of the Match to steer his side to a big win.
Punjab has been blowing hot and cold like every year with five wins and five losses and depend heavily on Livingstone for his contribution with the bat and ball. If he fires, they generally do well but if he does not, Punjab have no one in the end to give the big finishing in the end overs.
Morever, he is very handy with the ball as he can bowl leg spin as well as the googly and gets crucial wickets for his franchise - as we saw him getting the big wicket of David Miller in the must-win game against table toppers Gujarat Titans. He also scored 30 of just 10 balls to finish the game quickly and up the run rate of Punjab, who now sit on fifth position in a very tight points table.
If Punjab Kings have to make it to the play offs, Livingstone will have to carry on the good work both with the bat and ball and guide a franchise which has been desperate to reach the top four since 2014 when they last reached the finals.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group