Shahbaz picked up three wickets in a one over to stage a turnaround for RCB at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepaauk as the team defended 149 for eight.
Shahbaz even came out to bat at number three ahead of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, a reflection of Virat Kohli’s faith in the ability of the left-hander.
“Both Shahbaz Ahmed and Rajat Patidar (who played in the IPL 2021 lung opener against Mumbai Indians as Devdutt Padikkal was unavailable) have been brilliant in the practice games,” Siraj said in the post-match virtual press conference.
“Shahbaz, as an all-rounder, gives us that extra option with his left-arm spin. The wicket was slow and turning also. Shahbaz fitted into it for this game and did the job for us,” he added.
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The 26-year-old’s triple strike — Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey and Abdul Samad — in the 17th over changed the complexion of the game as at that stage, the David Warner-led SRH had looked well on course for a win.
“We had overs left of Washington Sundar too. But Virat bhai thought with two right-handers at the crease, a left-arm spinner could be brought.
“He created a chance with Manish (Pandey) in his first over, and that’s why he bowled another, and that changed the game for us,” said Siraj.
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The pacer himself was also impressive, conceding just 25 runs in his four overs and took two wickets.
“I just try to swing the ball with the new ball. I got swing the first ball and I thought to do more of that and get a couple of wickets.
“The dew factor is also there and we have to overcome that. I always aim to hit back of length and let the batsmen make mistake,” he added.
RCB next take on the Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Kinght Riders on Sunday (April 18) at the same venue.
(With PTI inputs)
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