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.
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.