Kohli Went With Shahbaz Because Of Two Right-Handers At The Crease, Says Siraj

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 in the second innings.

” 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.

 Warner’s half century was comfortably paving the way for SRH as they 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 failed to put up and achieve the target. Shahbaz returned with figures of 3-7 in his two overs while Siraj got two scalps in his four overs for just 25 runs.

The pacer stated that he was trying to swing as much as possible and create added pressure on the other side. “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, “Shahbaz, as an all-rounder, gives us that extra option with his left-arm spin.”

RCB will next lock horns with Kolkata Knight Riders here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

-With ANI input.

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