The wicket-keeper batsman has formed a formidable partnership with comeback man David Warner and the duo are setting the field on fire this season. On a hot Sunday afternoon, Bairstow blazed away to a blistering century (114; 56b, 12×4 , 7×6) as Sunrisers posted a mammoth 231 for two against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the RGIC Stadium. Warner notched up his second century for SRH – fourth overall in IPL – with an unbeaten on 100 (55b, 5×4, 5×6).
RCB followed up their poor show with the cherry with an even worse performance with the willow. Afghani offie Mohammed Nabi snuffed off the challenge as he struck thrice to reduce RCB to 22 for three in the fourth over. Sandeep Sharma, who has got Virat Kohli out five times in nine previous T20 innings, proved the skipper’s nemesis again. The visitors, who were left shell-shocked by the Warner-Bairstow show, folded up for 113 to hand out the hosts a 118-run win. Nabi, who was playing the first game of the season, finished with four for 11 and Sharma got three for 19.
Warner, who had twice won the Orange Cap (2015 & 17), has over the years hogged the limelight but on Sunday he played second fiddle to Bairstow. Warner and Bairstow took off from where they left on Friday night as they punished the rival bowlers. Kohli began with Moeen Ali but the England offie failed to make an impact. Ali began with a dot ball but thereafter everything turned nought for his side. His fellow England teammate struck him for two boundaries and Warner chipped in with one as the Sunrisers made a rousing start with 14 off that over.
Warner struck Umesh Yadav’s first ball over the straight boundary for the first six of the game off the seventh ball. There was no respite for the RCB bowlers thereafter as Bairstow stuck into them with such ferocity that the summer heat too paled in significance.
“The pitch will play slower in the first half,” Kohli said after winning the toss and electing to field but when Warner and Bairstow were batting there was nothing to slow them down. An odd ball did kick up and one of those troubled Warner but the edge was out of the fielders’ reach in the cover region. That was the only semblance of chance that the visitors had as the hosts enthralled their fans with a flurry of strokes.
In the process the duo broke a few records. They are the first opening pair to post three consecutive centuries in the IPL (118 against KKR, 110 against RR and — against RCB). The duo also posted the highest opening partnership in the IPL – 184 by Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn against Gujarat Lions in 2017. Warner and Bairstow also broke the SRH best of 139 posted by Warner and Shikhar Dhawan against KKR in 2017. They also went past the earlier highest all wicket stand of 176 by Warner and Kane Williamson. The 231 is also SRH’s highest score and also the highest at this venue. This is also the second time that two batsmen have scored centuries in the same innings – Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers had done it against Gujarat Lions in 2016.