MI v RPS Player of the Match: Washington Sundar

Mumbai Indians' blue brigade was muted on three occasions by a boy from Chennai, who isn’t even old enough for a driving license.

Washington Sundar picked three quick wickets to throw MI out of the game.

Apart from eleven good players on the field, a team playing Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede has to also contend with an army of blue people, roughly 45,000 of them, every game. The violent waving of the blue flags and an incessant buzz that shoots up whenever the home team picks up a wicket or scores a boundary might trouble the nerves of the opposition player, especially if he’s inexperienced.

But on Tuesday, that blue brigade was muted on three occasions by a boy from Chennai, who isn’t even old enough for a driving license. Washington Sundar didn’t bowl magic balls to get rid of Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu; he was, like he said, “keeping things simple”.

He sought the lines and lengths that batsmen found hard to score off and bowled there as often as he could.  And, sometimes, in a high-pressure T20 chase, that’s enough.

Simplicity, consistency and being metronomic — Washington knows these are his strengths and he sticks to them. This IPL, according to CricViz, he has landed 65% of his deliveries on a good length and has only bowled 11 short balls.

“Keeping it simple works for me,” he said after receiving the Man of the Match award. “Right now I'm not really open to being experimental. I just go out there and I back myself to play to my strengths.” He might not possess the guile and shedload of skills as Ravichandran Ashwin, whom he replaced in the Rising Pune Supergiant squad, but, at 17, he seems to be sure of his game and has the will to do well.

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