Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer Mohammed Siraj who bowled a devastating spell to rattle the Kolkata Knight Riders batting line-up thanked his captain for giving him the new ball. Siraj recorded match figures of 4-2-8-3 as RCB humbled KKR in Abu Dhabi by 8 wickets. Batting first, KKR posted a paltry total of 84/8 which RCB chased down in 13.3 overs to jump to the second position in the points table.
“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," said the man of the match Mohammed Siraj.
“We hadn’t planned that I will open but when we went out, Virat bhai said Miyan ready ho jao. (get ready)," added Siraj.
Virat Kohli too said that he had initially thought of starting their match with Washington Sundar as Chris Morris’ new-ball partner. “It was a late call, to be honest, was thinking of giving Washington Sundar the ball and then bring Chris Morris into the game. But the pitch was very dry and so looking at the conditions we decided to start with Siraj and Morris," said Kohli at the post-match presentation.
Although Siraj missed a hat-trick, he tore into the KKR top order, dismissing opener Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana off consecutive deliveries in his first over and then Tom Banton in his next. Both overs were maidens, thus making him the first in the IPL to have bowled two maiden overs in the same match and ended the game with figures of 3/8 in four overs.
“Last year he [Siraj] had a tough year. Lots of people went hard at him. But he worked hard. He was hitting the right areas in practice and talking to the bowling coach. He’s seeing the result now and we want him to continue," said Kohli.
The win took RCB level on points with the top-ranked Delhi Capitals, behind them only on net run rate.
“I obviously have thought about the things we can do on the field but the management this time around has been able to create a culture. We have a plan A, we have plan B, and people are executing it that’s why it’s looking good," said Kohli about the balance the team has found this season after three underwhelming years.