On Wednesday night after Royal Challengers Bangalore’s completed a comprehensive win, pacer Mohammed Siraj, who scythed through Kolkata Knight Riders 'top-order’ couldn’t thank skipper Virat Kohli enough for showing faith in his abilities. The pacer said Kohli's surprise decision to hand him the new ball lifted his confidence. (HIGHLIGHTS | POINTS TABLE | CRICKET NEWS)
Siraj, who replaced Shahbaz Ahmed in RCB's playing XI, didn’t disappoint and took first three wickets without conceding a run, becoming 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 just 13.3 overs.
Once Chris Morris generated swing early on, Mohammed Siraj, who returned with figures of 4-2-8-3, came on to bowl the second over.
"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 said after the eight-wicket win on Wednesday.
Mohammed Siraj struck of his third ball with a good length ball that went away of Rahul Tripathi inducing an edge, which was safely caught by AB de Villiers behind the stumps.
In his next delivery, he cleaned up Nitish Rana, with a ball that cut back in and breached the left-hander's defence. In the next over, Siraj accounted for Tom Banton with another outswing delivery. His bowling figures became the most economical this season.
"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."
A natural in-swing bowler, Siraj has been practising with the new ball and generating outswing in the practice sessions as well.
"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.
Often sidelined in presence of Chris Morris, Navdeep Saini and the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, this was Siraj’s fourth match.
"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," Mohammed Siraj said.