IPL 2021: Kohli went with Shahbaz because of two right-handers at the crease, says Siraj

Shahbaz, as an all-rounder, gives us that extra option with his left-arm spin, said Siraj.
Picture Credit: IndianPremierLeague twitter profile
Picture Credit: IndianPremierLeague twitter profile


Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Mohammed Siraj revealed that left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed became the automatic choice for skipper Virat Kohli for the 17th over as there were two right-handers at the crease and the wicket was gripping for the spinners at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. David Warner's half-century had put SunRisers Hyderabad on course for a victory but Ahmed ran through their middle order to help RCB register a thrilling six-run win on Wednesday.
SRH were 115/2 before the start of the 17th over. But Ahmed scalped three wickets in that over and turned the tide in favour of the RCB. He bagged Jonny Bairstow (12), Manish Pandey (38) and Abdul Samad (0). After the 17th over, SRH's score read 116/5 and the side managed to reach 143/9 in their allotted 20 overs but failed to cross the line. Shahbaz returned with the figures of 3-7 in his two overs while Siraj got two scalps in his four overs for just 25 runs.
"The wicket was a bit slow and it was gripping for the spinner. We had overs left of Washington Sundar too. But Virat bhai thought with two right-handers (Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow) at the crease, a left-arm spinner could be brought (in the 14th over). He created a chance with Manish Pandey in his first over, and that's why he bowled another, and that changed the game," Siraj said in the virtual post-match press conference. Siraj bowled a beautiful first over. He swung the ball away from the batsman and started the innings with a maiden over.
"With the new ball, I tried to get as much swing as possible. in the process, if I get one or two wickets it will help the side and create pressure on them," the pacer said. "My thought process was to hit the back of the length and let the batsman make the mistake. I try to hit the back of the length as much as possible," he added.
When asked about picking Ahmed ahead of Rajat Patidar, Siraj explained, "Both Shahbaz Ahmed and Rajat Patidar have been brilliant in the practice games. Shahbaz, as an all-rounder, gives us that extra option with his left-arm spin. The team management decides on the best-possible combination considering the conditions and opponents. Shahbaz Ahmed fitted into it for this game and did the job for us." RCB will next lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday. 

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