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Thursday, October 1, 2020

take a bow ! ~ fairtale finish by Rahul Tewatia !

 We have seen 100s of matches and many fairytale finishes .. .. there was a time in 1980s when score of close to 200 (in 50 overs) was considered defendable and score of 240+ - certain win !! .. .. never in life, one would have imagined the hero being a player who had just played 21 matches till the game, had aggregated 121 runs – having hit 4 sixers in all – would make the Cricket world sing paens on him !! – he is a leg-spinner bowling allrounder !!
Perhaps before 10 pm on 27.9.2020, he was trolled as badly or more than what Murali Vijay has been receiving – he himself had to say – ‘that was the worst first 20 balls that I have ever played. I was hitting the ball very good in the nets, so I had belief in myself and kept going’ – natural that people would mock him.  Leg-spin bowling all-rounder Rahul Tewatia was traded to Rajasthan Royals from Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2020. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Tewatia, who had made his IPL debut with RR in 2014! ~ ever heard him before.

Before that what a game KingX1 Punjab had – only  21 balls remained in the innings when Glenn Maxwell walked in, and only 12 when Nicholas Pooran came to the crease. It can be difficult to come in at that sort of time and find the boundary immediately, but both managed it to varying degrees of success. Rajpoot and Tom Curran managed to tie Maxwell down to an extent, but he created a couple of boundaries with his movement around the crease. Pooran, however, got a few balls in his slot and dispatched all of them ruthlessly - he hit three sixes and a four in just eight balls, three of those boundaries coming in an 18-run final over from Jofra Archer. But none would talk about them as on that day, KL  Rahul and Mayank Agarwal seemed to tire as their partnership progressed, and from 172 for no loss at the 15-over mark, Kings XI scored 22 off the next 18 balls - a period in which they lost both openers.

A great innings from young Mayank Agarwal, whose  sparkling form allowed him to achieve a control percentage of 80 - which is pretty high for an innings achieving a strike rate of 212.00. At the other end, Rahul faced 54 balls - four more than Agarwal - and pulled off a control percentage of 85, but only struck at 127.77. Aside from a hat-trick of fours against Jofra Archer in the fourth over, he seemed to almost consciously play second fiddle to Agarwal, giving him the strike whenever possible. Yet, Mayank’s brilliant 100 too was buried.

As it unfolded, it felt like a chase that defied logic in every way possible. But by the time the Rajasthan Royals were done mowing down a target of 224 - an IPL record - the scorecard reflected one bit of cold, hard T20 logic: the team that hits more sixes usually wins. Kings XI Punjab hit 11 sixes - seven coming off the bat of Mayank Agarwal, who made a scintillating 106 off 50 balls - and the Royals hit 18.

Player of the match, Sanju Samson hit seven of those sixes while scoring a second successive half-century for the first time in his IPL career. His 42-ball 85 stunned everybody as he put on 81 for the second wicket with Steven Smith in just 40 balls, putting the Royals well in touch with their asking rate. They then promoted Rahul Tewatia - their only left-hander - to No. 4, and the move was beginning to look like one of the most ill-judged tactical interventions in IPL history when he struggled to hit the ball off the square and crawled to 8 off 19 balls. But the six-hitting ability that he possesses came into view just when the Royals seemed out of it. Tewatia smacked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in a match-turning, match-defining 18th over, and an improbable 51 off 18 balls turned into a far more straightforward 21 off 12.

The cricketing world, on Sunday, perhaps watched the greatest turnaround in a player’s fortune thanks to Rahul Tewatia’s stunning match-winning knock for Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab.  Rahul Tewatia  batting on 17 off 23 balls changed the destiny in one over of Cottrell, hitting five sixes to script a stunning come-from-behind win for his side by four wickets. He hit one more six to reach his fifty off 30 balls before departing in the 19th over. Tom Curran then hit a four to take the Royals home with three balls remaining.

Great game – well played – Rahul, Mayank, Sanju and Tewatia !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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