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Turning Point: Tewatia changes the game in 10 minutes

By HARISH KOTIAN
September 28, 2020 08:46 IST
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Rahul Tewatia

IMAGE: Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Rahul Tewatia hits one of his six sixes during the IPL game against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah on Sunday, September 27, 2020. Photograph: BCCI/IPL
 

'Never ever write off a team or an individual in T20 cricket,' exclaimed Michael Slater as Rajasthan Royals scripted one of the most sensational comebacks in IPL history, against the Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah, on Sunday.

He was spot on!

Rajasthan Royals looked out of the reckoning when Sanju Samson was dismissed after a blistering 85 from 42 balls in the 17th over.

To add to their woes, Rahul Tewatia, who was promoted up the order, struggled to get bat on ball.

With 51 needed from 3 overs, everyone had written off the Royals and the move to send Tewatia at No 4 was widely being criticised.

But Tewatia showed tremendous character and self-belief to script one of the most unbelievable turnarounds in T20 cricket.

The 18th over from Sheldon Cottrell, saw Tewatia, who was batting on 17 from 23 balls, launch a flurry of sixes to set alight the Sharjah cricket stadium.

Cottrell helped Tewatia's cause with a short ball on his pads which he pulled over fine leg for a six and then swatted the next short ball over square leg for another six.

Expecting Cottrell to go full and wide, Tewatia was ready and he hammered it over long-off to make it three sixes in a row.

The left-hander was not done yet, as a low, wide full toss was fetched from outside the off-stump and swept over midwicket for the fourth consecutive six.

He was beaten off the fifth ball before he despatched the last ball over midwicket for the fifth six of the over.

Tewatia's stunning attack brought the target within reach as the Royals now needed 21 from 2 overs for victory.

And even though Robin Uthappa fell off the first delivery of the 19th over, Jofra Archer all but settled the deal with back-to-back sixes off Mohammad Shami.

Tewatia was not done yet as he launched Shami over point for his sixth six in the space of seven balls to race to his fifty from 30 balls.

He perished next ball, but not before he had left Rajasthan on the brink of a memorable win. With two needed for victory, Tom Curran lofted Murugan Ashwin for a four over the covers as Rajasthan Royals chased down a mammoth 224 to register the highest-ever run chase in IPL history.

The cricketing world was gobsmacked by Tewatia's innings with the likes of Yuvraj Singh (the first cricketer to hit 6 sixes in T2o history) to English television personality Piers Morgan rhapsodic about the 27 year old's batting.

While Sanju Samson deserves rich credit for his knock which kept Royals in the contest, Tewatia changed the outcome in a mere 10 minutes.

Tewatia has traveled from the Rajasthan Royals in 2014 to the Kings XI Punjab to the Delhi Captitals before being traded to the Royals this season. After Sunday, he is clearly here to stay.

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