Gujarat Titans (GT) all-rounder, Rahul Tewatia became a household name during the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), when he wreaked havoc on Punjab Kings (PBKS) during a league game. Tewatia started off slow in the 227-run chase, as he was playing on 17 off 23 deliveries, with only three overs remaining in the innings. The Royals still required 61 runs to win off the next three overs when the Kings – then led by KL Rahul – brought in Sheldon Cottrell into the attack.
In a stunning display of power-hitting, Rahul Tewatia turned the game on its head with five sixes in an over, to helped RR surpass the 200-run mark at the end of the 18th. RR eventually won the game by five wickets. He became an overnight sensation following the innings and last year, GT bought him for INR 9 crore in the IPL auction. He recently admitted that he thought his career was “finished” when he wasn’t able to hit boundaries during the knock against Punjab.
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During a chat with Gaurav Kapur on Gujarat Titans’ podcast, Rahul Tewatia recalled, “Even if you look at Sharjah innings, it hadn’t started well. I wasn’t just stuck; it was humiliation. It was embarrassing, almost rock bottom. I think I’d scored only 8 runs off 17 balls. How much I’d try, I wasn’t able to hit even simple full tosses. There were all kinds of thoughts in my head. I even thought that this would be my last IPL match. I swear this was what I felt.”
He further explained, “Pressure was getting to me, considering I’d only scored 7 or 8 runs. It could be my last IPL match, the world sees this tournament. Since I was already rock bottom, I thought it couldn’t get worse. 61 was needed off 3 overs, and (Sheldon) Cottrell came in to bowl. The only way was to go for it. The first ball connected, I heaved a sigh of relief, second connected and it increased my confidence.”
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recalling the innings further, Rahul Tewatia said, “After the third six, Robin Uthappa bhai, who was at the other end, he said that I will hit in every ball of that over. The ‘Desi Jaat’ in me woke up. The moment he bowled, I slogged over mid wicket. The one that I missed was in the slot too. When I saw highlights, I realised it could’ve gone for six too, but because the way I hit the first four sixes, I got overenthusiastic.”
This year, Tewatia has faced only 47 deliveries so far, but has scored 80 runs; his role has primarily been to slog in the final overs of the game. Thanks to Titans’ impressive batting performances this year, Tewatia got an opportunity to bat in only five matches so far. The side has already qualified for the playoffs and will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final league game of the season on Sunday night.