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Washington Sundar: Bangalore's unsung hero

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After three seasons of struggle, Bangalore have started getting the results they have always wanted. After their memorable 2016 season, during which they reached the final, this is the first time that they have had such a good first half in the tournament. Bangalore have won five out of their seven matches so far and thus are placed third in the Indian T20 League points table.

They have had many heroes in these seven matches so far. All of AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal and Navdeep Saini have had their moments, and have deservedly got the recognition for their performances. However, one player whose performances have gone a little unnoticed is Washington Sundar.

Even though the off-spinner has picked up just five wickets in the seven matches so far, he has helped Bangalore dominate the opposition with the ball in the Powerplay and middle-overs. In fact, his overall economy rate of 4.90 in the season thus far is the best among bowlers who have bowled at least 10 overs.

Metrics

Powerplay overs (1-6)

Middle-overs (7-16)

Balls

66

66

Runs

50

58

Economy Rate

4.55

5.27

Wickets

3

2

Table: A look at how Washington Sundar has fared in the Powerplay and middle-overs of Indian T20 League 2020

If we look at his performances in the two phases of the innings in the table above, we can clearly see how good he has been across both phases. His economy rate of 4.55 inside the Powerplay is the best among bowlers who have bowled at least 30 balls in that phase in the season thus far. Moreover, he has taken three wickets as well at an excellent average of 16.67.

He has been a little expensive in the middle-overs, even then he has gone at an economy of under six runs per over. Yes, he hasn't been lethal in terms of picking up wickets but the pressure he has created from his end has helped his partner Yuzvendra Chahal dominate proceedings from the other end. Chahal's tally of eight wickets in the middle overs so far is the second-most this season and he has picked up those wickets at a superb strike-rate of 17.25.

The reason behind Sundar's economical bowling this season is the control he has had over his lengths.

Sundar has recorded the highest percentage of balls pitched on a good-length among players who have bowled at least 50 deliveries in the season thus far. The pitches at the three venues have gone a bit on the slower side after the initial few matches. So the success of the bowlers with a high percentage of good length balls isn't surprising.

Along with his accuracy of length, Sundar's control over his lines has been fabulous as well. He has tried to bring the stumps as much into play as possible and that hasn't allowed the batsmen enough room to free their arms against him. He has bowled at a high pace too, which is another reason why batsmen haven't found him easy to take on.

All these facts and figures sum up how crucial the 21-year-old has been to Bangalore's success in the ongoing season. He might not have heaps of wickets to his name in every match and even when he does, as he did with figures of 2/16 vs Kolkata, his performance might get overshadowed by that of the other popular names in the team. But that hardly matters as long as he keeps contributing to the team's success.

Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / Bangalore

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