On Wednesday, Shahbaz Ahmed delivered a match-winning performance that guided the Royal Challengers Bangalore(RCB) to a nail-biting win over Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Asked to bat first, the RCB batting order was restricted to a total of 149 for 8 wickets in 20 overs. Virat Kohli managed to hit 33 but was caught by Vijay Shanker on Jason Holder’s delivery, whereas Rashid Khan sent AB de Villiers back to the pavilion.
However, Glenn Maxwell made another brilliant impression with a 41-ball 59. He provided the much-needed stimulation in the middle overs and stayed at the crease till the final over, hitting 3 sixes and 5 fours.
Defending the total, Ahmad turned the match upside down by dismissing well set Manish Pandey (38) Jonny Bairstow (12) and Abdul Samad (0) in one over. Bairstow was caught by De Villiers’ trying to play a slog-sweep, whereas Pandey was caught by Harshal Patel on the extra cover on the following ball, Samad soon hit the ball straight into the hands of the bowler. SRH lost the game by 6 runs in the end.
Meanwhile, the Royal Challengers had gained some momentum after winning their previous match against Mumbai Indians(MI) in a close encounter that went down to the last ball. The key player of RCB’s bowling line up, Harshal Patel, sent back Vijay Shankar and Mohammed Siraj got Jason Holder caught at long-off in the 19th over. The win also took RCB to the top of the table.
RCB pacer Siraj in the post-match interview said: “ Shahbaz had been performing excellently in the practice matches and so he was able to secure his position in the team replacing Rajat Patidar. The pitch at Chennai was slow and turning, so the captain suggested to use the left-arm spinner Shahbaz as there were both right-hand batsmen on the crease”.
“Things went as planned as Shahbaz managed to pick up three wickets in the second over of his spell which helped us progress towards winning the match,” he added.