Titans in nick of time

All-rounders Tewatia & Rashid complete heist, seal win off last ball vs Hyderabad
Rahul Tewatia  (File photo | IPL)
Rahul Tewatia (File photo | IPL)

CHENNAI: When Rahul Tewatia pulled off a heist against the then Kings XI Punjab in 2020 at Sharjah, hitting Sheldon Cottrell for four consecutive sixes, it was supposed to be a one-time miracle. These things don’t happen every day or even every year.

Fast forward to 2022. By this time, the glory of Tewatia had peaked as Gujarat Titans went up to `9 crore to make sure the all-rounder played for them. And he did not take much time to live up to the reputation he had built. First, he smashed an unbeaten 40 off 24 against Lucknow Super Giants, but the peak Tewatia innings came shortly after. Once again, it was Punjab Kings who were at the receiving end as the southpaw smashed consecutive sixes off the last two balls to take them home. He had done it again. Not once, but twice, he had pulled off the improbable. That should have been it; the one Tewatia heist for the season.

But, on Wednesday, when he walked in to bat against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Titans needed 74 runs from 40 balls. While Tewatia started off with a cheeky boundary off Umran Malik, who was breathing fire, over the next couple of overs, he would witness David Miller and Abhinav Manohar fall flat to Malik, who finished with five for 25.

With 56 needed off 24, they were officially entering the Tewatia zone. But unlike the previous occasions, this time, he had Rashid Khan for company. If T Natarajan was welcomed with a thump over extra cover by Tewatia, Rashid would pull off a MS Dhoni helicopter shot against Bhuvaneshwar with his incredible wrists coming into play. The equation was still 35 from 12. Tewatia was on strike.

Natarajan came around the wicket, bowling into the arc of the southpaw as he lifted the left-arm pacer over mid-off for a four. Just two runs came off the next three. Off the fifth, Natarajan missed the yorker only to witness Tewatia launch him into the stands. A single off the last ball meant Titans needed 22 from six. Tewatia could not possibly do it again; not twice in a season.

But Marco Jansen bowled right into his arc and the first ball disappeared into the night sky. 16 from five. Is he going to do it again? After all he had raced to 39 runs from just 19 balls. Jansen came back stronger to give just a single, leaving Rashid on strike with 15 required from four. Jansen went on the slower side, and the Afghan, who had a night to forget with the ball, sent it downtown. 9 off 3 now. A dot ball and a missed chance to steal a bye meant that Tewatia wasn’t going to get on strike. He had done his part and it was over to Rashid to take them home.

After all, Rashid had smashed a 21-ball 40 himself against Chennai in a tense chase a few days ago. Fifth ball a full-toss, was sliced over cover for a six. Three needed off one and Jansen went short. Rashid went for a full blooded hook. As the ball went over Natarajan’s at long leg, the duo went berserk on the field. They had done it again.

Brief scores: SRH 195/6 in 20 ovs (Abhishek 65) lost to GT 199/5 in 20 ovs (Saha 68, Tewatia 40 n.o, Rashid 31 n.o; Umran 5/25).

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