What are some of the things that catch your attention in a T20 match? Flurry of boundaries, over-the-roof-top sixes, sensational catches or boundary saves...what else? Stumps being knocked over by pacers, probably. Action always attracts attention, yet not all action creates an equal impact in a T20 game. Sometimes, sometimes defensive displays, especially with the ball, creates a greater impact than even a fifty-plus score in a high-scoring encounter.
On Monday night at the Dubai International Stadium, where 406 runs were scored between two teams, who further required a Super Over to decide between themselves as the winner, Washington Sundar, an off-spinning all-rounder, was the only bowler to not have conceded a boundary in his four-over spell. He returned with figures of 1 for 12 in four overs with 13 dot balls.
On a high-scoring evening, the average economy rate for bowlers were 10.15. For pacers it was 10.75 and for the spinners, the number stood as 8.78. And for Sundar, he coneceded only at three runs per over while also taking the crucial wicket of Rohit Sharma.
Introduced in the second over of Mumbai's chase amid no Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav, Sundar dismissed Rohit with a fraction short delivery that the captain pounced on to pull it over midwicket only to find Negi in the deep. It was RCB's first powerplay wicket this season. Keeping his lines tight and length around short and back of the length, Sundar finished the powerplays with figures of 1 for seven and his efforts helped in restricting Mumbai to 35 for two amid fielding restrictions. When he returned for his final six in the 10th over, he was up against a hard-hitting Hardik Pandya, but his strategy remained the same while bowling quicker deliveries around the off stump line. Mumbai managed to pull off only five singles in that over.
This was only the first time that Sundar had opened the bowling for RCB this season. In the two previous matches, he bowled only three overs, none in the powerplays. Overall, Sundar has bolwed seven times between overs 1 and 6 for RCB, and he conceded 86 runs at 12.28 an economy rate. One could probably blame the shorter boundaries of the Chinnaswamy track for the poor returns then.
Sundar as a powerplay specialist back in 2017 when he was part of Rising Pune Supergiants, the year he made his debut in the tournament. His average economy rate in that phase since then has been 7.53, which stands in competition with Mujeeb ur Rahman, Sunil Narine, and Mohammad Nabi.
Sundar's bowling impact on Monday night was 20, according to CricViz. No other bowler had made an impact more than five during the match. And only two other players made a better impact - Kieron Pollard and Ishan Kishan - for their 80-run blitzkrieg partnership during the death overs.
With RCB still looking to frame their perfect XI amid a troubled bowling setup, Sundar can prove to be a vital player in the lineup in IPL 2020.