Siraj has emerged as one of the most impressive bowlers in international cricket across formats, shouldering the responsibility in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah for India. He was also ranked the No 1 ODI bowler for about two months earlier this year.
“The lockdown was very important for me. I was quite down before that because I used to be expensive earlier. I focussed on my gym training, on my bowling and I wanted to do well,” Siraj told the broadcaster after the IPL game against PBKS on Thursday.
“Even in the ODIs, my rhythm was good, my confidence was high and I have brought that into this season of the IPL. I am a good fielder; I just make a few mistakes once in a while (smiles). I always try to keep improving in every aspect so that I can remain a part of the team,” he added.
Virat Kohli, who captained RCB on Thursday, said the pitch at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium here was challenging to bat on.
“This (win) does not make us an invincible team or the league position before today did not make us a bad team. The table cannot define your mood when you have played just five or six games. (We will) Maintain our processes and stay in the moment. In the first half, the conditions changed drastically. Faf (du Plessis) batted outstandingly well,” Kohli said.
“We thought of extending our partnership for as long as possible so that it could give us an extra 20 runs. After overs 7-8, as soon as the ball was getting bashed into the square, the ball really started getting scuffed up. We changed our strategy to bat deeper. Had we stayed in, we could have given a crack at 190-200. We felt 175 was a good score on this pitch. I told them (teammates) that was more than enough.
“All we had to do was be confident and hold the ball in hand looking to get wickets. The way you win games in T20 cricket is by taking wickets. At the halfway stage, the idea was to take the game to the opposition in the first six overs. We broke the game open right there and our fielding was brilliant as well,” Kohli added.
Sam Curran, who continued to lead Punjab Kings in the absence of regular skipper Shikhar Dhawan, praised Kohli and Du Plessis for their 137-run stand for the opening wicket that set the platform for RCB’s win.
“I thought we bowled really well as a group. The way Faf and Virat played was good. I did not think they got away from us too much. In the end, we just did not bat well enough. They bowled pretty well as well but we lost wickets. The conditions were quite strange as well. We thought it would rain at one stage, with all the lightning and thunder,” he said.
Curran said the team will have to move on quickly and take lessons from this game as they will have a one-day break before they take on Mumbai Indians in Mumbai.
“It was a really good wicket with good-sized boundaries, you want a fair contest between bat and ball. Just a couple of things with the bat that we might regret but we move on to Saturday. The games come thick and fast, so it is about learning from this,” he said.
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