Every year IPL gives its fans at least a nail-biting finish and it was no different when Rahul Tewatia's final-over heroics with the bat helped Gujarat Titans pull off an incredible heist against Punjab Kings.
Chasing 190, Titans required 19 off the final over and it couldn't have been finished without a drama. It was a battle of nerves between the sides and Gujarat seemed to have that on Friday night at the Brabourne Stadium.
Odean Smith was tasked with defending the job in the last over, and he'd started the over well, with a dot ball also yielding a run-out of a well-set skipper Hardik Pandya. New man at the crease, Tewatia, then managed to pick a single and in the next delivery Miller hit a boundary to keep Gujarat in the game.
The Proteas batter could free his arms in the next ball but an overthrow by Smith gave Gujarat one run and also brought 'Man of the Moment' back on strike, which proved decisive in the end.
The 28-year-old Tewatia obliged brilliantly, carting Smith just over the deep mid-wicket, with the fielder nearly catching him before falling over the rope, and then he slog sweeped the final delivery over the long-on boundary for a mighty six to snatch victory for Gujarat Titans from the jaws of defeat against Punjab Kings.
Tewatia was celebrating wildly, punching the air with his helmet while Smith was down on his knees. Mayank Agarwal, the Kings skipper was consoling a despondent Smith. Well, the West Indies pacer would probably think about his goof-up on the fourth delivery of the over, for the rest of his cricketing career. Had he not overthrown, Tewatia wouldn't have been on strike, and he would have done a Tewatia.
When asked about what was going on in his head during the drama of the last over, the Haryana-born cricketer said he wasn't thinking that much.
"There wasn't a lot to think about in the final over, we just had to hit sixes and that's what me and David (Miller) were talking about. I knew (on the last-ball six) that it had gone off the middle of the bat, so it would clear the fence. I did premeditate, felt he (Odean) bowl wide outside off to me, premeditated and it executed well for me," said an elated Tewatia at the post-match presentation.
It wasn't for the first time that Tewatia has given a breathtaking performance in the IPL.
Ahead of IPL 2020, the all-rounder was traded to Rajasthan Royals from Delhi Capitals. It was a homecoming of sorts for Tewatia, who had made his IPL debut with RR in 2014, In that season, he set the stage on fire for RR. The left-handed batsman scored 255 runs which included a memorable 31-ball 53-run blitz where he hit 5 sixes in an over, and scalped 10 wickets and then earned his maiden call-up to the Indian team.
In the ongoing IPL 2022 season as well, Tewatia played an unbeaten knock, wrapped up the chase and helped Gujarat Titans begin their IPL 2022 campaign with a 5-wicket victory against the Lucknow Super Giants.
The hard-hitting finisher was picked up by the Titans for Rs 9 crore at the IPL 2022 mega auction. RCB, CSK and GT, all three teams were bidding for the all-rounder and it was Gujarat who managed to buy him.
Many experts, cricket pundits and even fans on social media had called that Tewatia got a little more money than he deserves, but the charismatic cricketer with his magical knocks in the IPL 2022 has proved that he is worth every single penny.20220409-111002