To many avid cricket fans like me, Rahul Tewatia was just another name. I knew he was an all rounder of sorts, primarily a left arm spinner who could also hit the ball hard. He had been with different franchisees during varying seasons of the Indian Premier League ( IPL). I remember him with the King’s XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils. This year he has gone back to Rajasthan Royals (RR) where he started his IPL career. Yesterday he played the game of his life for them!
Thanks to Mayank Agarwal and K L Rahul, King’s XI Punjab seemed at one stage all set to reach 250. To their credit, the Rajasthan Royals (RR) bowlers pegged them back in the second half of their innings and the Punjabis finished with 223. A very good score considering that most teams who batted first had won matches. Indeed when Steve Smith chose to field on winning the toss, many felt it was a wrong decision by the RR captain- one of several where he was to prove people wrong!
Thanks to Sanju Samson, RR got a good start and were making a fight of the match. Tewatia was sent in to bat at No. 4. Obviously his brief was to hit out and accelerate the scoring. Unfortunately for him the opposite happened. Try as he did he could not get the ball away. Doubt turned to scorn and anger as he crawled to 8 in 19 balls, when the acute need of the hour was to press on-regardless.
They say that the never say die spirit sets some people apart. We saw it in Rahul Tewatia yesterday at Sharjah. His team needed 51 runs to win in 18 balls. In the 18th over of the RR innings, he hammered 5 Sixers off the bowling of the West Indian quick Sheldon Cottrell. This equalled Chris Gayle’s record of the most Sixers in an over! After 17 runs off 23 balls he blasted an astonishing 36 runs off the next 8 balls!! He deserved to stay till the end but he fell in the 19th over but his batting had brought his team to the cusp of victory.
This was an amazing turnaround for the fortunes of RR- and for Tewatia of course. Those who were cursing him a short while ago, now praised him to the skies. Those who criticized his skipper Smith’s decision to send him at No. 4 were now saying that was sheer genius! It proved beyond doubt that there is so much truth in the old adage- one over can change the game.
RR won with three balls to spare and King’s XI suddenly found themselves having lost two of their first three games. Indeed the first game against Delhi Capitals should have been won easily by them. They bothched up the Super Over and now this!
Rahul Tewatia has established himself as an accomplished hitter of the cricket ball. I dare say his fortunes will change for the better thanks to that one over which got him and his team 30 most valuable runs. His team created a IPL record – the highest total chased down – scoring 224 to win the match. The millions watching the match all over the world were treated to some amazing cricket yesterday. In the heat of the battle, West Indian Nicholas Pooran of the King’s XI did some extraordinary fielding which will be remembered for a long, long time! He had scored a duck in the Super Over in the last match!
The low profile Tewatia suddenly finds himself hitting the headlines every where. He will now have to live up to this reputation. I wish him all the best in his future career.
He has shown he is a young man with a depth of fortitude and very high on self-belief.