Rahul Tewatia teaches a life lesson as RR pull-off highest-ever run-chase in IPL

Sanju Samson and Steve Smith also played a crucial role as Mayank Agarwal’s exceptional ton went in vain.

Rahul Tewatia
Rahul Tewatia. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

Wow! It was absolutely breathtaking! The match between the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) was expected to be a run-fest but not what transpired in Sharjah on Sunday night. Rahul Tewatia must have been cursed by many for his rusty knock but not after his 30-run over off Sheldon Cottrell.

It was one kind of a roller coaster ride during the course of 40-overs and after all of it, a massive 449 runs were amassed. The Royals aced the record IPL chase ever as records tumbled on the day with as many as 29 sixes being hit.

After being invited to bat first, the KXIP openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul made the Royals realise that they made a mistake at the toss. To everyone’s surprise, the former took the charge and got going soon taking on Jaydev Unadkat. The carnage had just begun then and the RR bowlers had little idea what was going to follow. Agarwal played some delightful strokes to stun the opposition as he kept playing some proper textbook strokes.

He got to his fifty off 26 balls and shifted to another gear smashing sixes at will. KL Rahul, at the other end, also started open up his arms and the duo started to have some real fun. Having said that, eyes were not going off Agarwal who was playing some sublime shots and got his second fifty runs off just 19 runs to become the second-fastest Indian centurion in the IPL ever.

KL Rahul and Agarwal smacked almost every ball coming there way and added 183 runs for the opening wicket which is the third-best partnership for the first wicket in the IPL ever. Agarwal got out in the 17th over and then the run-rate came down a touch with Rahul also getting out in the next over. However, Glenn Maxwell made sure that the hard work of the openers didn’t go in vain. He scored 25* off just 8 balls with a four and three sixes as the KXIP posted 223 runs on the board off 20 overs.

Rahul Tewatia converts himself into hero after being a villain

What turned out in the chase was absolutely unbelievable! The Royals lost their ace player Jos Buttler in the third over of the innings and many thought that there was no chance for them to gun down the total. But what followed later was an even better carnage! Sanju Samson and Steve Smith decided to make the most of the powerplay overs and made sure that they never fell behind the required run-rate.

The duo added 81 runs for the second wicket off just 34 deliveries even as the RR skipper smashed a 26-ball fifty. However, he got out too soon and the Royals then took an obnoxious decision to send Rahul Tewatia at four with Robin Uthappa in the hut.

The left-hander, with Sanju Samson going all guns blazing at the other end, struggled to even touch bat to ball. He was only at 8 after facing 18 balls and despite his partner hitting maximums standing in the crease, the match was going out of the hands. The equation came down to 84 off the last five overs and Samson got the better of Glenn Maxwell churning out 21 runs in the over.

However, much to RR’s agony, he got out in the next over to Mohammed Shami after scoring a stroke-filled 85 off 42 balls with four fours and seven massive sixes. Until then, all were cursing Rahul Tewatia and RR team management for sending him at four. But the southpaw turned his fortunes dramatically in the 18th over of the innings when the Royals needed 51 impossible runs to get.

Crazy hitting from Tewatia

Sheldon Cottrell was entrusted to bowl the over and the left-arm bore the brunt of all the earlier frustration from Tewatia. Tewatia hit four consecutive sixes off the fast bowler to turn the game on its head. Even though the fifth delivery was a dot ball, the batsman managed to middle the final delivery and got 30 runs off the over to leave the viewers stunned.

With only 21 runs needed in the last two overs, the game was of Royals’ to lose but then Shami struck at the right time to send back Uthappa. However, it was a boom or bust going on in the middle. Jofra Archer came out and sent the next two deliveries out of the ground to bring the equation to run-a-ball. To end the over, Tewatia ended the competition itself and got to his half-century off just 31 deliveries.

RR needed 2 runs in the last over and even though Muruagan Ashwin castled Riyan Parag for a duck, Tom Curran completed the chase. The Royals’ camp was elated but the Kings XI were left stunned at the other end as they had conceded a record chase ever in the IPL.

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