IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj’s magical spell silences Knight Riders
IPL 2020: Mohammed Siraj picked up 3 for 8 as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 8 wickets in Abu Dhabi. Batting first, KKR posted a mere 84/8 and in reply, RCB chased it down in 13.3 overs.Updated: Oct 21, 2020, 22:56 IST
In a match that witnessed several seasonal lows—lowest powerplay score (17/4) and lowest innings score (84/8)—due to a woeful batting show by Kolkata Knight Riders, one particular bowling high slipped under the radar. In twelve-and-a-half seasons of IPL so far, no bowler had ever bowled two maidens in the same innings. Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Mohammed Siraj, brought in to play only his fourth game of the edition, achieved that unprecedented feat with his first two overs; and within the first four overs of the game on Wednesday.
Siraj, the right-arm seamer, didn’t just bowl a dozen consecutive dot balls to begin with; three of those deliveries also claimed wickets, giving him never-seen-before figures of 2-2-0-3 at one stage. It also reduced Kolkata to 14/4, a position from which they wouldn’t recover in Abu Dhabi.
With only his third ball, Siraj struck as opener Rahul Tripathi tried to run an outswinger down to third man. Instead, he nicked the ball into the safe mittens of AB de Villiers. In walked the lefty Nitish Rana, whose presence would’ve forced Siraj to change his line. First ball, a wicked outswinger that straightened on pitching uprooted Rana’s off-stump. The over ended a double-wicket maiden.
When Navdeep Saini got rid of Shubman Gill in the following over, KKR were 3 for 3—the worst three-wicket start to any IPL innings since 2013. The new batsman, Tom Banton, hit Saini for a four and a six in the same over, scoring a little under an eighth of the team score in two hits. It didn’t last though. Siraj returned to nick off Banton and also bowl his second consecutive maiden, leaving KKR in utter shambles.
If not for Eoin Morgan, the side’s relatively new skipper who scored 30, KKR would’ve struggled to go past the lowest-ever IPL total of 49 that they, incidentally, had bowled RCB out for in 2017. KKR’s camp heaved a sigh of relief as the team scored its 50th run—thanks to a rare boundary struck by Morgan—but this came in the 15th over and with only four wickets in hand.
KKR got to a total of 84 thanks to a last-gasp stand worth 27 runs between Kuldeep Yadav and Lockie Ferguson, bowlers who were only giving themselves precious runs to defend. Ferguson, in fact, came into this match in red-hot bowling form. In his only match of the IPL immediately before this, the Kiwi quick had taken 3/15 against Sunrisers Hyderabad, followed by 2/2 in the subsequent Super Over. That’s five wickets in 27 balls.
By the time Ferguson was brought on to bowl in this innings, RCB’s openers—Devdutt Padikkal and Aaron Finch—had already notched 44 runs in the powerplay. He dismissed Finch almost immediately, caught behind due to the extra pace, and enforced the run-out of Padikkal two balls later. But in walked Virat Kohli, who made short work of what was left with Gurkeerat Singh, and RCB won with 8 wickets to spare.