Washington Sundar was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team that beat Kings XI Punjab in its previous fixture. – K. MURALI KUMAR
Part of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s turnaround in the recent past — it has won three of its last four matches — had arrived after a change of mindset. The team had been burdened by the pressure of winning, and after a string of losses, it decided to “enjoy our time on the field,” according to off-spinner Washington Sundar.
With eight points from 11 matches, the side needs to win every remaining game in the group stage to give itself the chance of making it to the playoffs. Yet, it isn’t under pressure.
“We thought we’ll just enjoy the game, especially after the first six losses. We thought we’ll just enjoy the game and not think too much about the result. It put a lot of pressure on ourselves in terms of results. Just wanted to do the right things again and again and just wanted to enjoy our time on the field. That’s one thing that’s been said by the support staff to all players and that’s what we’ve been looking to do so far. It helped us also in the last three-four games to win games,” Washington said here on Saturday ahead of Royal Challengers’ contest against Delhi Capitals.
He added: “[We wish to] just go out there, enjoy our time out there and the result doesn’t really matter because obviously [we’ve] lost six games on a trot to begin with. So, we just wanted to enjoy, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do in the next three games.”
In terms of performance, Royal Challengers has bowled better in the powerplay in the last few matches, Washington pointed out. “One thing that stood out in the last three games [was that] we bowled really well in the powerplay, especially in the games against [Chennai Super Kings] and [Kolkata Knight Riders]. We took three wickets each in that game in the powerplay. That’s something we lacked in the first six games. Our powerplay [bowling] wasn’t that great,” he said.
If the team fails to make it to the next stage despite winning all its remaining games, it will still have ensured a good season,Washington reasoned.
“If we win the next three games, we’ll still be 14 points. If we still don’t qualify after getting 14 points, than [we] can’t do much. Any team who’ve had 14 points – I would say – have had a good IPL season as a team. So, that’s what we’ll be looking to do. Win the next three games and give ourselves a good chance to qualify,” Washington said.
Looking ahead to the contest on Sunday, Washington said: “As a domestic player, any player would have played a lot of cricket over here in Delhi. A lot of players know about these Delhi conditions. It’s quite different from any other place; especially, Delhi and Chennai are quite similar. Delhi is also in very good form; they’re almost in the [Playoffs]. A win against them will give us a lot of confidence, especially to win the next three games and look to qualify. That’s what we’ll be looking to do. Coming over here, beating them at their home will give us a lot of confidence.”
Moeen Ali’s absence — the all-rounder has returned home to attend England’s World Cup preparatory camp — is likely to make the spin unit a little weaker and considering the pitches here are helpful for spinners, it could mean a big blow to the side.
The side will miss the services of the all-rounder, Washington admitted. “[Moeen Ali] had a very good season this year, and I’m sure we would have been an even better side with him but we have players to replace him. There are a lot of foreign players who can replace anybody. We’ve got [Colin de Grandhomme]; we can even play [Shimron] Hetmyer, so I don’t think that will affect us in any way but his experience and the kind of form he was in this entire season, we will probably miss that,” Washington said.