A scintillating bowling performance by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Mohammed Siraj powered his team to an 8-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
KKR created an unwanted record of lowest team total in 20 overs in the ongoing IPL when they out on 84/8 on the board against RCB.
Siraj led the stranglehold for RCB, taking three wickets for eight runs and bowling two maidens out of his four overs. This was the first instance when a player had bowled back-to-back maiden overs in the IPL.
Siraj and his new-ball partner Navdeep Saini demolished the top half of the KKR batting unit in the powerplay itself. While Siraj dismissed opener Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana and Tom Banton, Saini got the better-off Shubman Gill.
Captain Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik tried to steady the ship by holding on to their wickets between the fourth and eighth over. Karthik finally departed, falling to Yuzvendra Chahal in the ninth over, having made four runs from 14 balls. An eighth-wicket partnership of 27 runs between Kuldeep Yadav and Lockie Ferguson was KKR’s highest.
Chasing a paltry 85, RCB started briskly with openers Aaron Finch and Devdutt Padikkal scoring 46 in six overs. Finch was dismissed on 16 by Ferguson before Padikkal was run out after a mix-up with Gurkeerat Mann. But, RCB comfortably chased down the target in 13.3 overs.
Relive Siraj’s magical spell here:
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Siraj reveals what Virat told him before giving the new ball.
After the match, ‘Player of the Match’ Siraj revealed what Virat told him before handing the new ball. “First, I want to thank Allah for my performance. Then thanks to Virat for giving me the new ball. I have been practising a lot with the new ball, Siraj said. “We hadn’t planned that I will open, but when we went out, Virat bhai said Miyan ready ho jao. [Sir, get ready.]. The ball to Rana was very good. Executed exactly what I had planned.”
Siraj elaborated what it meant to him when he finally bowled with the new ball. It had been a long time since the speedster was given the new ball, perhaps because of his high economy run-rate, but when the opportunity came for the 26-year-old, he ensured not to waste it.
“The initial plan for was me to come first change. But the moment I entered the ground, Virat bhai informed me,” Siraj said.
“It was after a long time that I got the new ball. The last time it happened was during my first IPL year when I’d bowled against Sunrisers Hyderabad (in 2017). After that today, I got the opportunity to bowl with the new all today, so it felt great.”