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Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj has certainly been one of those players who gets trolled on social media regularly for leaking runs at a huge economy rate. But the right-arm fast bowler just turned the tables around with an emphatic display of fast bowling against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.
Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan had won the toss and elected to bat first. To everyone’s surprise RCB skipper Virat Kohli handed the ball to Siraj in the second over on a surface that seemed to have something for the quick-bowlers.
But it wasn’t just the nature of the strip that worked for Siraj but he did have some plan according to which he bowled his spell.
Siraj showed some glimpse of what was coming in his very first over after creating a perfect setup to scalp opener Rahul Tripathi’s wicket. He bowled his first delivery to Tripathi which was a bit towards the leg-side.
The right-handed batsman nudged this one to the leg side, the second one was a fullish delivery outside the off-stump which Tripathi drove away towards the cover region. Siraj then applied the trick on the third ball.
The seamer just pulled the length of this delivery a bit and bowled it around the fifth-sixth stump channel going away from the right-hander.
Tripathi tried to guide this one to the third-man but ended up edging the ball that went straight to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers who eventually completed a sitter behind the stump. He was sent back in the hut for 1 of 5 deliveries.
But this was just the beginning of what was in the kitty. Left-handed batsman Nitish Rana walked-in at number three for KKR. Siraj didn’t waste any time and bowled an inswinging delivery to Rana.
There was a lot of movement in the ball but it was enough to trouble the batsman. Rana who stood half-forward to push the ball through off-side totally misjudged the delivery and it ended up disturbing the timber behind him. Rana was out for a golden duck.
Siraj didn’t give any runs in this over and eventually completed a double-wicket maiden. KKR’s dismal start to the proceedings continued as Navdeep Saini who was bowling the third over removed Shubman Gill for 1 of 6.
Saini bowled a short delivery outside off at 140.7kph and Gill tried to play a pull shot. But unfortunately, he wasn’t able to handle the pace of the delivery and ended up miscuing the stroke and gave a catch to Chris Morris at mid-on. KKR were now left tottering at 3/3 but the misery didn’t end here.
Tom Banton who replaced injured Andre Russell in the KKR XI for this game tried to dominate the bowlers and he did end up scoring a boundary and a maximum but he too perished soon for 10 off 8 to give Siraj his third wicket. Siraj continued to stick to similar lines and length-on a good length and around the fifth stump channel. The ball didn’t really move and Banton ended up nicking the ball to de Villiers who completed yet another catch.
With 14 for 4 in the 4th over, KKR now needed a stand to steady their ship. Captain Morgan was out in the middle with former skipper Dinesh Karthik and the left-right duo tried to resist a bit. The two had built a partnership of 18 runs before Karthik departed for 4 off 14, courtesy a brilliant DRS call from the Virat Kohli in the 9th over.
Yuzvendra Chahal bowled a googly to Karthik that the wicket-keeper batsman tried to defend on the front foot. The ball missed the bat and hit the pads of Karthik. Chahal and other RCB members appealed for an LBW that was initially turned down by the on-field umpire.
But Kohli decided to go upstairs for a review and it turned out to be the perfect decision as the ball-tracking showed the ball to be hitting the leg-stump. KKR were now 32/5 with Morgan at the crease to be the last recognised batsman.
While Morgan tried to score few runs, KKR lost Pat Cummins as the sixth wicket. Chahal once again created a perfect setup for the Australian cricketer. The leggie had been keeping the ball quicker around off and middle-stump but suddenly teased Cummins with flighted delivery well outside the off-stump.
Cummins tried to slash the ball hard over extra-cover but failed to execute the shot and ended up giving a catch to Devdutt Padikkal who grabbed a good one to the left of long-off.
Morgan was the next one to depart who was dismissed by Washington Sundar after adding 17 runs for the seventh wicket with Kuldeep Yadav. Morgan had scored a boundary off the previous delivery from Sundar towards the off-side.
The off-spinner bowled another short delivery that Morgan tried to pull and go over the boundary ropes over mid-wicket but was caught by Gurkeerat Singh for 30. Lockie Ferguson then joined Kuldeep in the middle and the two 27 runs for the eight-wicket. Kuldeep was runout for 12 off 19 while Ferguson remained unbeaten at 19 off 16 as KKR were restricted to 84/8 in the 20 overs.
While Siraj scalped a three-for, Chahal returned with figures of 2/15 in four overs.
In reply, RCB were handed to chase a modest target of 85 runs in 20 overs. Openers Aaron Finch and Padikkal began the proceedings well as the two compiled 46 runs for the first wicket before Finch departed for a 21-ball 16 that included three boundaries. He was dismissed by Ferguson after giving an easy catch to Karthik behind the stumps. Padikkal followed Finch and was runout for 25 off 17.
RCB didn’t see any fall of wickets further as Gurkeerat Singh Mann and skipper Kohli took them over the line. Mann who was sent in at number three remained not out for 21 off 26 while Kohli scored 18* off 17.
With this win, RCB have now moved to the second spot with 14 points and 7 wins under their belt.
Royal Challengers Bangalore 85 for 2 in 13.3 overs (Finch 25, Mann 21, Kohli 18, Ferguson 1/17) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 84 for 8 in 20 overs (Morgan 30, Ferguson 19, Siraj 3/8) by 8 wickets