Royal Challengers Bangalore pack leader Mohammed Siraj has revealed why Shahbaz Ahmed was picked in the final XI against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday. With an in-from Devdutt Padikkal match fit, either Rajat Patidar or Shahbaz Ahmed had to make way for the Karnataka left-hander.
In fact, both Patidar and Ahmed didn’t have a great opening match against Mumbai Indians and thus it wasn’t an easy selection decision for the RCB’s think tank. However, the team management backed Shahbaz Ahmed as the all-rounder provides an extra bowling option to skipper Virat Kohli.
Ahmed was promoted to number three but couldn’t grab the opportunity as he scored only 14 runs off 10 balls. However, the left-arm spinner turned the match on its head when he was handed over the ball in the 17th over.
Ahmed scalped three wickets of Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, and Abdul Samad and conceded a solitary run to put RCB in the driver’s seat. All the three batsmen tried to play the big shots across the line and ballooned the ball to throw away their wicket. Thus, RCB won the game by six runs.
“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,” said RCB pacer Siraj.
As Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow were batting, Kohli decided to back the left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Ahmed, who could take the ball away from the right-handers.
“We had overs left of Washington Sundar too. But Virat Bhai (Virat Kohli) 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,” added Mohammed Siraj.
Meanwhile, Mohammed Siraj was brilliant in his opening spell as he conceded a solitary run in his first two overs and scalped the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha. Siraj finished with figures of 2-25 in his four overs quota. RCB will play their next match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue of Chepauk Stadium on 18th April.