Dubai: Jonny Bairstow came good with half-century in England’s loss in the final T20I against visiting Australia, but that didn’t stop the Sunrisers Hyderabad from hailing one of their brightest stars ahead of the IPL-13 that gets under way in the UAE from September 19.
Playing without Eoin Morgan, whose dislocated finger forced him out of the side while missing the likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jason Roy for various reasons, it was Bairstow to the fore with a top score of 55 even as England sunk to a five-wicket loss - winning the series 2-1.
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It was Mitchell Marsh playing a perfect role at the Ageas Bowl with an unbeaten 39 off 36 balls as Australia earned a consolation win with three balls to spare while chasing a modest total of 145.
After England had already sealed the series, Tuesday’s result made it 2-1 but also handed back the World No.1 ranking in T20Is to Australia. They had lost the top spot to England on Sunday after the hosts had gone 2-0 up in the series with a six-wicket victory. The One-Day International series is now scheduled to commence on Friday.
“Changing fear. 55 off 44 balls”, read the main headline on the Sunrisers Hyderabad social media alongside Bairstow’s picture.
With the limited-overs series between England and Australia getting over on September 16, the England and Australian players are expected to arrive in the UAE the next day. There won’t be any relaxation for the players coming from the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) either as the tournament is scheduled to get over on September 10 and the players expected to reach the UAE by September 12.
All players are expected to observe the mandatory six-day quarantine period with the Rajasthan Royals being worst-hit side while missing out on the services of captain Steve Smith, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran and Jos Buttler for the first match against Chennai Super Kings on September 22.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad – who begin their campaign on September 21 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore – are expected to miss David Warner, Bairstow and Mitchell Marsh - for their opener.
Bairstow was part of the squad that won the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. A right-hand batsman, he is the only England wicketkeeper to claim nine dismissals twice in a Test match - against South Africa (January 2016) and against Sri Lanka (May 2016). Only Jack Russell (11 dismissals vs South Africa in 1995) and Bob Taylor (10 dismissals vs India in 1980) have claimed more in a single Test match.
The tenacious England wicketkeeper-batsman had been a relatively new entrant to the IPL during the 2019 season. A proven performer at the highest level, Bairstow had a brilliant debut IPL season - scoring 445 runs that included a century while opening the batting with his captain David Warner.
Along with Warner, the duo formed a threatening opening pair often helping the Sunrisers get off to a blazing start. One can expect nothing different this year as well when Bairstow takes charge of the SRH top order.