Kevin Pietersen, the former England batsman said he would never write off any cricketer of any team’s chances in the remainder of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 after witnessing unsung hero Rahul Tewatia’s stunning turnaround in Rajasthan Royal’s record-breaking run chase against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah on Sunday.
Kevin Pietersen recalled Australian former batsman commentator Michael Slater’s on-air comments, saying he would never take the risk of ruling out comebacks, especially in games played at the iconic venue Sharjah.
Kevin Pietersen: Rajasthan Royals Snatched Victory From Jaws Of Defeat
Rahul Tewatia produced a gem of an innings as he hit 53 off just 31 balls to help Rajasthan Royals clinch their second successive win of IPL 2020. Rahul Tewatia, who was sent in ahead of experienced Robin Uthappa in their 224-run chase, nearly blew away the team’s chances by taking 19 balls for his first 8 runs after Steve Smith and Sanju Samson gave them a flying start.
Rahul Tewatia was struggling with the bat and was sent in by the RR team management to hit the King’s XI leg-spinners but the all-rounder played and missed to put mounting pressure on the chase.
When Sanju Samson departed for a well made 42-ball 85 in the 17th over, it looked like the match was over as RR still required over 60 in their last 4 overs. However, Rahul Tewatia held his nerves in pressured situations and produced one of the most memorable knocks of IPL. He smashed West Indian fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell for 30 runs in the 18th over, hitting 5 sixes to take RR past the finish line.
“It was stunning to watch. It’s not so stunning if you are a Kings XI fan. 86 off 4 overs to turn this game. They snatched defeat from the jaws of defeat so effortlessly. As Michael Slater said on commentary, I will never ever write off anyone or any team in this great game ever again. I don’t think we can do it for the rest of the tournament, no matter what the situation of the game,” Kevin Pietersen said during a post-match show on Star Sports.
Kevin Pietersen pointed out that Sanju Samson was watching the turnaround with disbelief after he got out. Rahul Tewatia who scored 8 off first 19 balls hit 36 runs off his last 8 balls as Mayank Agarwal’s brilliant hundred went in vain on Sunday.
“He (Samson) is cuddling Tewatia so much. He felt under pressure. He turned singles down and wanted to retain the strike. He then gets out after playing some of the most fabulous shots, and Tewatia says ‘hold on, if you could do it, then so can I”. I bet you Samson never ever believed that Tewatia could do that. His emotion now makes me guarantee that,” Pietersen said.
Sanju Samson, the Man of the Match against KXIP with a well made 85 off 42 balls with 4 boundaries and 7 sixes was out with the score at 161/3 at the first ball of the 17th over when 63 runs were still required for RR to win in just 23 balls-less than 4 overs. But the 18th over saw 30 runs as the equation came down to 33 runs off 12 balls.
Sanju Samson Was In Disbelief After Rahul Tewatia Scored 30 Runs In 1 Over Sunil Gavaskar
Meanwhile, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar described Rahul Tewatia’s innings crisply as unbelievable and mind-blowing after he hit 5 sixes in an over by KXIP pacer Sheldon Cottrell as RR cruised to the target of 224.
“It never looked possible at one stage because Tewatia was struggling to get past the 30-yard circle. He was playing and missing and not able to connect. But eventually, what he did was understand his strength and went for it. Earlier on, he was trying to reverse sweep but if it’s not strength, why go for it? He came so well, he did not give up.”
“You could see the disbelief on Sanju Samson’s face. That’s cricket. You can never predict in this game because this can turn around so quickly,” Gavaskar said.
Earlier, both KXIP openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal stitched together an opening partnership of 183 runs as KXIP posted a mammoth 223/3 which was overcome by Rajasthan Royals courtesy half-centuries from Rahul Tewatia, Sanju Samson and Steve Smith.