Rahul Tewatia went from zero to hero in front of the entire country in the space of 20 deliveries in yesterday’s IPL game between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. The Rajasthan Royals dugout sported tense faces when Tewatia, sent out to take on Ravi Bishnoi, the young Kings XI Punjab leg-spinner, was unable to get bat on ball against any of the opposition bowlers, including Bishnoi.
Tewatia, after his stupendous effort of 53 off 31 which helped his side record the highest run-chase in the IPL, said in the post-match presentation, “I was hitting the ball really well in the nets so I had the belief in myself. I was not hitting the ball well initially, then I saw in the dugout, everybody was curious because they know that I can hit the ball long. At once I thought that I have to believe in myself and it was a matter of just one six.”
Tewatia faced a total of 8 deliveries from Bishnoi among his first 20 deliveries, 6 of them being dot balls. He blatantly commented on his struggle in the first half of his innings, “They were the worst 20 balls I have ever played.”
The 18th over viciously turned the tide last night. Sanju Samson’s dismissal gave Punjab the belief that they could close the game out easily, but Tewatia then tore into the left-arm pace of Sheldon Cottrell, hitting him for 5 consecutive sixes. Prior to that 30-run over, he managed to clear the ropes off Bishnoi once, something that gave him the confidence, he claimed. “After that (six off Bishnoi), I thought now it is time to get going. And then hitting five in the over felt amazing. Coach sent me to hit some sixes off the leg spinner, but unfortunately, I didn’t hit him so I had to hit the other bowlers,” he said.