Shahbaz Ahmed turned the game on its head when he dismissed Manish Pandey, Abdul Samad and Jonny Bairstow in the 17th over when Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) were well on their way to chasing down 150 set by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). RCB fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, who bowled an impressive spell himself reckons Ahmed has justified his place in the team.
"Both Shahbaz Ahmed and Rajat Patidar (who played the last game as Devdutt Padikkal was unavailable) have been brilliant in the practice games," Siraj said in the post-match press conference.
"Shahbaz, as an all-rounder, gives us that extra option with his left-arm spin. The wicket was slow and turning. He fitted into it for this game and did the job for us," he added.
RCB had overs from Washington Sundar also left, but given that there were right-handers at the crease, Ahmed was handed the ball ahead of the off-spinner. "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.
Speaking of his spell - which included the wickets of Wriddhiman Saha and Jason Holder - Siraj said, "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 mistakes," he added.
RCB have won both their matches in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 so far and will look to keep their 100 percent record in the tournament intact when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on April 18 in Chennai.