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It was a matter of just one six: Tewatia on Sharjah heroics

Rajasthan Royals took what seemed like a very risky punt when they sent out the left-handed Rahul Tewatia to bat at two-drop in chase of Kings XI Punjab's 223. Steve Smith's 27-ball 50 and Sanju Samson's flying start meant the chase was still on a knife' edge. The idea was to have Tewatia use his big hitting against KXIP leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi to seize the game in the middle-overs. But that just didn't happen as the southpaw struggled to get the ball off the square and the chase came to a standstill.

"They were the worst 20 balls I have ever played," Tewatia said in the post-match presentation. He faced eight balls from Bishnoi, six of which were dots. He managed to get one six but was lagging far behind on 17 off 23. The dugout looked on curiously as the match was slipping away, before he dragged it all back with an incredible over.

"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," he said.

With 51 needed of 18 and Sanju Samson dismissed, the game was all but pocketed by Kings XI Punjab. But the 18th over from Sheldon Cottrell violently turned the tables. Tewatia brought out the big hitting that the think tank took the risk on and hit five colossal sixes, one even landing on the road to take 30 off the left-armer's over. Cottrell tried short balls, and then full deliveries but none worked as he paved the way for RR's comeback. With another six - off Shami in the penultimate over - Tewatia brought up his 30-ball half-century, and his team mates to their feet in the dugout.

"After that [one six] I thought not 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.

The equation went from 51 off 18 to 21 off 12 and astonishingly just two off the last six balls, which RR picked to cap off the highest successful run-chase in the tournament's history.

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Monday, September 28, 2020