Abu Dhabi: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Mohammed Siraj, who ripped through Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) top-order with a ‘magical performance’, has thanked skipper Virat Kohli. He said Virat Kohli’s surprise decision to hand him the new ball Wednesday in the IPL game boosted his confidence.
Mohammed Siraj’s first three wickets came without conceding a run. He became the first bowler in IPL history to bowl two maidens in a single game. RCB restricted KKR to a paltry 84/8 and chased down the target in 13.3 overs.
Once Chris Morris generated swing early on, Siraj was asked to bowl the second over. It came about after Kohli had discussions with wicket-keeper AB de Villiers.
“We hadn’t planned that I would open the bowling. However, when we went out, Virat bhai said ‘Miyan, ready ho jao (Sir, get ready!). You will have to bowl’. It boosted my confidence,” the Hyderabadi pacer, who returned with figures of 4-2-8-3, said after the eight-wicket win.
“Morris beat the batsmen (in the first over). Then Virat bhai spoke to AB de Villiers (behind the stumps) and gave me the ball. Initially, I didn’t think it would swing so much after seeing the wicket. I just backed my strength and really enjoyed a lot,” Siraj added.
Brought in to bowl in the second over, Siraj struck in his third ball. It was a good length ball that went away of Rahul Tripathi. In his next delivery, he cleaned up Nitish Rana, with a ball that sharply cut back. In the next over, he accounted for Tom Banton with another outswing delivery. His bowling figures became the most economical this season.
A natural in-swing bowler, Siraj has been practising with the new ball and generating outswing in the practice sessions. “I’ve been a natural inswing bowler but while practising I have developed the outgoing delivery,” he informed.
Having endured a tough outing against the same side in 2019, it’s now a story of going from being zero to hero for Siraj. He was hammered for 36 runs in 2.2 overs in that game. He could not complete his spell as he was removed from the attack for bowling two beamers. KKR chased down 206 with five balls to spare in the game. Siraj had also dropped a sitter from Chris Lynn and faced a lot a criticism.