NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Liam Livingstone showed why Punjab Kings splurged $1.52 million to secure his services with a dazzling all-round display in Sunday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) victory against holders Chennai Super Kings.
England spin-bowling power-hitter Livingstone, the IPL’s most expensive overseas player this season, smashed a 32-ball 60 and then claimed 2-25 to help Punjab to their second victory in three matches.
“The first two games didn’t go my way so it’s nice to contribute to a win,” the 28-year-old, who bowls both off-breaks and leg-breaks, said after collecting the player-of-the-match award.
Livingstone walked in when Punjab were 14-2 in the second over and he counter-attacked straightaway, smashing five sixes and as many boundaries in his blistering knock.
“All our conversations have been to try and be as exciting as we can and as aggressive as we can …” he said of his batting approach.
“I’ve been swinging hard enough and it’s nice get a couple out of the middle today.”
It was a welcome return to form for Livingstone, who scored 19 against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders and went wicketless in both games.
“Things have not quite gone my way in the first two games. I struggled a little bit with Rajasthan last year as well.
“It’s nice to have a performance like this. Hopefully this will give me some confidence going forward.”
Punjab captain Mayank Agarwal said he just let Livingstone do his thing.
“I said nothing to him. Everyone just holds their breath when he’s batting. The shots he hits are just fantastic,” Agarwal said.
Livingstone, however, said he was not the biggest hitter in the Punjab camp.
“I bat in the nets with Odeon Smith. He’s got me covered by a long way, trust me,” he said referring to the Jamaican all-rounder.
“I’m sure he’ll get going at some point in the tournament.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Peter Rutherford)