Cricket is a great leveler. And, no matter what happens, IT is not over till IT is actually over.
In the first 23 balls that he faced, Rahul Tewatia scored just 17 runs. His team was chasing a total of 224; the pressure on him was mounting, and he was struggling to put even bat to ball. He was playing and missing, and was unable to up the ante. In fact, when he was batting with Sanju Samson, the latter even refused a single to Tewatia. The left-hander was being crucified for letting the game slip away from the grasp of his side.
Even the staunchest supporter of the Rajasthan Royals would have thought that the game was done, especially after Samson’s dismissal. The Rajasthan side needed 63 off just 23 balls after Samson departed for an eye-catching 85, and everyone would have thought that it was all, but over for the Rajasthan outfit.
But then, Tewatia had other plans.
That Cottrell over that changed the game on its head
At the end of the 17th over, the equation for the Rajasthan side read 51 off 18 balls when Sheldon Cottrell got the ball in his hand. That meant that they had to go at a rate of 17 runs per over. Cottrell ran in and delivered a short delivery at Tewatia’s hips. The left-hander pulled it away, and the ball just landed beyond the ropes. A six off the first ball!
That would certainly have relieved the pressure off his shoulders. But then, the chase was far from over.
Cottrell bowled another short delivery, and Tewatia went for the pull, and the ball went out of the ground. All the pressure that was getting built on Tewatia was slowly getting released.
But then, could he still pull it off?
Cottrell bowled the third delivery fuller outside off stump. But then, it did not change the result. Tewatia got onto his front foot and pummeled the ball over cover for another six.
The equation now read 33 off 15. It seemed well within the reach of the Rajasthan side now.
Cottrell took the pace off the ball this time, hoping that he would get some respite. But, Tewatia seemed to be a man on a mission. The southpaw got down on one leg and smashed the bowler over deep mid-wicket for six yet again.
Four in a row!!!
The game was turning on its head.
The fifth ball was a dot ball. That at least saved Cottrell some embarrassment.
Off the final delivery though, Tewatia walloped Cottrell over deep mid-wicket with nonchalance for another six to pick up 30 runs from the over. Six balls ago, he was being scrutinised and criticised heavily. But, an over later, he turned into the hero for his side.
Rahul Tewatia does it for his side
The left hander then cut Mohammed Shami past third man for six, and the game was in the bag for the Rajasthan Royals. Tom Curran completed the formalities for his side, and in the space of just seven balls, Tewatia had completed perhaps the greatest Houdini Act in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL), had etched his name in the hearts of millions of fans and allowed Rajasthan to complete the most successful chase in IPL history. In fact, after his roller coaster knock, this is what Tewatia had to say:
“Now I am better. The worst 20 balls I have ever played. After that, I began to hit so I kept going. The dugout knows I can hit the ball long. I knew I had to believe in myself. It was a matter of one six. Five in the over, that is amazing. I tried to hit the leg-spinner, but unfortunately, I couldn’t. So I had to hit other bowlers.”
Yes. The first 20 balls might have been the worst that he had played. But then, the last eight balls that he faced would definitely turn out to be one of the best he has played in his career.
Sport is a great leveller
Sport is indeed a great leveler. And, it is this glorious, unscripted drama of Sport that makes it so riveting to watch. And, on 27th September 2020, Rahul Tewatia showed the world that anything is possible if you have the heart, that anything is possible if you just don’t quit.
The IPL has thrown up several unfathomable moments during the course of its 13-year existence, but this Houdini Act from Tewatia will rank somewhere right at the top, because of the self-belief that he showed.
You never cease to amaze us!