Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Ahmed turned the game in his team’s favour when he dismissed three key Sunrisers Hyderabad batsman in a single over.
The Chepauk saw another low-scoring encounter in which Virat Kohli’s side came out as the winner by just 6 runs.
RCB pacer Mohammed Siraj revealed that left-arm spinner Shahbaz became the automatic choice for skipper Kohli in 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 in Chennai.
“It was a very tough situation. But the captain trusted in my ability, and I managed to perform well. So I want to thank my captain. He gave me the 17th over because the wicket was gripping a bit. That helped my bowling, and I was successful in taking those wickets,” Shahbaz Ahmed said.
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.
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 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai, on Sunday.