Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer Mohammed Siraj, who ripped through Kolkata Knight Riders’ top-order with a “magical performance”, said skipper Virat Kohli’s surprise decision to hand him the new ball lifted his confidence in the IPL match here.
Siraj’s first three wickets came without conceding a run as 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 following a discussion with wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
“We hadn’t planned that I would open but 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 on Wednesday.
“Morris beat the batsmen (in the first over) and then Virat bhai spoke to AB de Villiers (behind the stumps) and gave me the bowl,” he added.
“Initially, I didn’t think it would swing so much after seeing the wicket. I just backed my strength and really enjoyed a lot.”
Brought in the second over, Siraj struck in his third ball with 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 and breached the left-hander’s defence. 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 started bowling outswing a lot better.
“In our practise sessions, we have Devdutt Padikkal and Parthiv Patel. I bowl the same length to them which I bowled to Nitish Rana. I did the same thing in the game and was able to execute it well,” he said.
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.
Siraj was hammered for 36 runs in 2.2 overs before being removed from the attack for bowling two beamers as KKR chased down 206 with five balls to spare in their IPL 2019 match.
In the same game, Siraj had also dropped a sitter from Chris Lynn and faced a lot a criticism.
Often sidelined in presence of Chris Morris, Navdeep Saini and the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, Siraj got his fourth match on Wednesday when he was included in place of Shahbaz Ahmed.
“I’ve always had a lot of support from the RCB setup. All I wanted to do this year was give a magical performance. I wanted to do something different this year,” Siraj, who played his fourth match of the season, said.
“Whenever I used to think about my performance in the IPL, I had made up my mind that I would deliver a performance to remember. It’s about doing something different, something magical,” he concluded.
Watch Mohammed Siraj’s full post-match interview below:
Kohli revealed that the seamer initially did not figure in their plans for opening the attack. But the RCb captain changed his mind.
“It was a late call to be honest (to give Siraj the new ball). It was a good toss to lose because we would have batted first. The plan was to bowl Washy (Washington Sundar) and Morry (Chris Morris), but then we thought let’s go Morris and Siraj,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Last year Siraj had a tough year and a lot of people went hard at him. This year he has worked hard and was bowling well in the nets. He has seen the results now but we want him to keep following the process,” he said further praising his fast bowler.
RCB have been much-improved and dominant this season and the India skipper credited it to a new “culture” in the side.
“The management has set in a culture where there is proper planning. It is not random. We have a Plan A, we have a Plan B, we have a Plan C. We are here to execute the plans we have in place. We did a few things at the auction too, which is paying off.
“You can have all the plans, but you have to have belief. Morry is living the responsibility. He is the guy who likes to take the leadership role. His energy is amazing. He can contribute with the bat, ball and in the field,” he added.
(With PTI inputs)
Watch Virat Kohli’s full post-match interview below:
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.