'He's a different bowler after the Australia tour': Virat Kohli lauds Mohammed Siraj for keeping Andre Russell quiet
When Kolkata Knight Riders needed 59 to win off the final three overs chasing 205, memories of Andre Russell playing that blinder of a knock, scoring 48 not out off 13 balls must have come back to haunt them. Russell had just taken 20 off Yuzvendra Chahal's final over and seemed to be setting himself up for fireworks with three overs to go. Two more sixes in the next over brought the equation down to 44 off two and although nine out of ten times, bowling sides have managed to defend it, Russell was still there.
For the penultimate over of the innings, the ball was handed to Mohammed Siraj, and the fast bowler, who received quite a stick from Russell in 2019, dished out an over of a lifetime. Against one of the hardest hitters of the ball, Siraj constantly bowled in the blockhole, resulting in five dot balls, as Russell refused to take a single. Only one run came off it, a single off the last ball which was a full toss.
By the end of it, Siraj had done the job for RCB, securing a win, the formalities of which were completed in the next over. After the match RCB captain spoke highly of Siraj, who he feels has become a different breed since his 'coming of age' tour of Australia not too long ago.
'"Siraj's over to Russell [was good] - he has had some history against Russell. He's a different bowler after the Australia tour and he shut the game out. Harshal has so much clarity in the end and I think Jamieson also bowled well. That's the reason why we have three out of three," Kohli said after RCB's 38-run win over KKR on Sunday.
With the result, RCB have not made it three wins in a row, their best start ever in the history of IPL. The surface in Chennai was slightly sluggish, one where scoring runs wasn't easy, but despite the nature of the surface, RCB managed to post in excess of 200. Overall, Kohli was pleased to see his team perform and rise against different types of challenges in all three matches so far.
"To be fair, on a pitch like Chennai, you probably have a bit more space to make an error on the longer boundary. It has to be on the offside and not the on-side. Siraj did miss on the full-toss, but he has two men on the boundary. The execution was spot-on. We played in Wankhede, Kolkata and Ahmedabad where the margin of error keeps getting smaller," Kohli explained.