Royal Challengers Bangalore’s all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed had a night to remember against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on Wednesday as the Virat Kohli’s team won the thrilling contest by six runs. Ahmed turned the match on its head as he scalped three wickets in the 17th over.
The left-arm spinner dismissed Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, and Abdul Samad to put RCB in a commanding position. Ahmed revealed that the pitch was gripping a bit and thus the captain decided to throw him the ball. It is never easy for a spinner to bowl at the death but Ahmed was able to keep his composure to deliver the goods.
Furthermore, there were two right-handers and it made sense to give the ball to a left-arm spinner, who could take the ball away from Bairstow and Pandey.
Ahmed said in the post-match presentation, “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.”
Ahmed added that he was ready to bowl the 19th over as well but the skipper trusted Mohammed Siraj, who had bowled a fine opening spell.
“I was ready to bowl the next over as well, but (Mohammed) Siraj is a good death bowler. Kohli was confident about him. So, no problem.”
Harshal Patel was then backed to bowl the final over and he was able to defend 16 runs. Patel who became the first bowler to take a five-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians, had another decent game as he returned with figures of 2-25 in his four overs. Patel relished the opportunity to perform under pressure.
Patel said, “When you face pressure, that is your real test. I have always tried to put myself in those situations whenever I am leading. And I am really happy that the captain is having that faith in me and putting me in those situations”.
“There has been a pattern in these games. It is easier to score at the start of the innings when the ball is hard. But as it gets old, run-making also becomes difficult. Our aim was to stay in the game throughout, keep building up pressure with dot balls. We knew wickets can fall quickly in the death overs, and the game can turn around. Looking at the last three games that have been played here (Chennai), we knew that if we stayed in the game, things could change.”
RCB will play their next match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the same venue of Chepauk Stadium on 18th April.