Jagaul.com Gaming Washington Sundar’s baffling act when India needed 14 off 3 leaves everyone searching for answers in 1st Zimbabwe T20I

Washington Sundar’s baffling act when India needed 14 off 3 leaves everyone searching for answers in 1st Zimbabwe T20I

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The last five months have not been the best for Washington Sundar. The Impact Player rule in the IPL turned out to be his biggest roadblock for breaking into India’s T20 World Cup squad. The all-rounder got to play only two matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2024, which was too small a sample for India’s selectors to overlook other established all-rounders, Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja. But he was sure in the mix. He was one of the first to be picked for the Zimbabwe T20Is, where the selectors decided to rest the seniors.

Washington Sundar’s tactics in the last few overs in the first T20I against Zimbabwe were baffling to the say least

Sundar, in fact, was one of the senior members of the squad that went to Zimbabwe. His return to international cricket after nearly six months started on a great note. He picked 2/11 in his four overs to help India restrict Zimbabwe to 115/9 in the first T20I in Harare. Sundar also crossed the 100-wicket mark in the process.

It looked rosy at the halfway stage, but things soon turned South as India’s chase began. The World Champions lost four wickets inside the powerplay and although captain Shubman Gill and debutant Dhruv Jurel paused the flow of wickets, it wasn’t for long. When Sundar came out to bat, India were 43/5, still needing 73 runs off 61 balls.

Matters became worse when a well-set Gill was bowled by Sikandar Raza in the next over. It was always going to be an uphill task for Sundar to lead lower-order, not known for its batting, to the target. But the left-hander put up a brave fight with the help of a brisk cameo from Avesh Khan (16 off 12).

It was after Avesh was dismissed that Sundar deployed some weird tactics. With only two wickets in hand, he had two options – to play out Sindar Raza or go for the big shots. He did neither to good effect in the 17th over. He denied singles in the first three balls. When it looked like, it was a clear plan not to give another wicket to Raza in is last over by exposing Mukesh Kumar, Sundar took a single off the next ball.

Two balls were enough for the Zimbabwe captain to dismiss Mukesh. With India nine down, Sundar finally decided to take the attacking route and found success. He gave India real belief by hitting a six and four off Luke Jongwe in the 18th over to bring the equation down to 18 of 12 balls.

In the penultimate over Sundar failed to hit a single boundary and took a single off the fifth ball. Khaleel Ahmed swayed away from the last ball. India now needed 16 in the last over.

It had to be all Sundar but the lack of match practice made it hard for the left-hander to find the boundaries regularly. After denying another single in the first ball of the over, Sundar tipped one over the short fine leg fielder to come back for a couple. With 14 needed off four balls, it was now or never for India.

Tendai Chatara bowled it wide outside off stump and Sundar made a good connection. It was racing away to the boundary, but Campbell did a fine job by sprinting towards his left and dining to save the ball from going to the boundary. While all this was happening, Sundar did not move an inch from his crease. There was enough time for him to come back for a second run but astonishingly, he decided not to run.

He did something more baffling off the next ball. Chatara bowled another length delivery outside off and Sundar could only manage to drive it to long-off. He once again denied a single, almost making sure India were left with no chance of winning or levelling the match. If he had taken a single off that ball, the chances of Khaleel hitting two sixes were very slim but India would have had a mathematical chance of stretching the match to super over. But after it resulted in a dot ball, there was no way India were gonna get 14 off the last two legal deliveries.

As it turned out, SSundar was out off the next ball after scoring 27 off 34 balls and Zimbabwe registered a huge upset over the reigning T20 World Champions, beating them by 13 runs.

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