Former India opener Gautam Gambhir was left surprised after Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli gave the new ball to Mohammed Siraj against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. The decision, however, paid off as the Hyderabad pacer produced a double-wicket maiden in his first over.
Siraj also scripted the record of bowling two consecutive maiden overs in the IPL history. While Kohli's captaincy impressed most fans, Gambhir questioned the RCB skipper's move to give Navdeep Saini the third over.
It was Chris Morris who opened the attack for RCB, followed by Siraj in the second over. After Siraj lethal show, Kohli decided to go with Saini instead of Morris for the third over. Kohli kept shuffling his bowling unit and it worked quite well for the Bangalore side.
“The brilliant captaincy that Virat Kohli had shown by giving the new ball to Mohammed Siraj, the positive captaincy and a fine move that paid off but this move surprises you,” Gambhir was heard as saying during live commentary.
“I don’t get the reason behind giving the ball to a new bowler to bowl the third over after Chris Morris’ first over,” he further said.
Siraj's early blows decimated KKR's batting force as they ultimately managed to post a meagre 84 in their stipulated 20 overs. KKR skipper Eoin Morgan scored 30 runs but his side wasn't able to post a challenging total on the board.
In response, the Bangalore side had an easy stroll as they hunted down the target with 39 deliveries to spare, taking them up to the second place in the points table.
At the post-match presentation, Kohli himself admitted that the decision to give Siraj the new ball was a late one.
“It was a late call to be honest (to give Siraj the new ball). Was thinking of giving Washy. When we got here, we saw the surface, it looked drier. At the toss, I said that it was a good toss to lose. We would have batted first but the pitch just seemed to look much better under lights."
"We had the option of the plan to start with Washi and bring Morris in the second over, then we thought let's give Siraj the new ball with Morris. Let him set the tone and then let Siraj try and swing the ball,” he said.