Tewatia hits two sixes in two balls as Gujarat beat Punjab in thriller


Rahul Tewatia plays a shot during their match against Punjab Kings on Friday. Courtesy: IPL

Gujarat Titans batter Rahul Tewatia struck two sixes on the last two deliveries of the match off Odean Smith to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Punjab Kings in a thrilling encounter of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2022) on Friday.

With 12 needed off the last two balls, Tewatia blasted two sixes at the Brabourne Stadium to seal a six-wicket win for the Titans.

From 21 of nine deliveries to 18 off the last five, Tewatia and David Miller brought it to 13 off three balls when Miller scrambled for a single, leaving Tewatia the unenviable task of hitting two sixes off the last two deliveries of the match and win it for Gujarat Titans, who successfully chased a target of 190.

The 28-year-old seasoned campaigner who has played for Kings XI Punjab, the previous avatar of Punjab Kings, and Delhi Capitals in the IPL, obliged brilliantly, carting Smith just over the deep mid-wicket, with the fielder nearly catching him before falling over the rope, and then slog sweeping the final delivery over the long-on boundary to seal a memorable victory for Gujarat Titans.

Chasing a target of 190, Gujarat looked cruising to victory with opener Shubman Gill and skipper Hardik Pandya leading the charge. But both got out at the most inappropriate time — Gill just four short of his century and Pandya run out of the first ball of the final over with Gujarat 4/172.

It looked like the match had slipped out of their hands but then Tewatia intervened so brilliantly.

Gujarat will have to thank opener Shubman Gill (96 – 59b, 11×4, 1×6), Sai Sudharshan (35 – 30b, 4×4, 1×6) and Pandya (27 – 18b, 5×4) for putting them in a position where they could chase Punjab Kings’ 189/9 reached thanks to a 27-ball 64 by Liam Livingstone, who struck his second successive half-century.

Livingstone came in to bat with PBKS struggling at 34/2 and then raised 52 runs for the third wicket with opener Shikhar Dhawan (35, 30b, 4×4). Dhawan, who did not look his usual assured self, greeted Lockie Ferguson with two successive boundaries in his first two deliveries of the night — the first lofted over mid-wicket and the second bisecting the covers. He was out with the score at 86/3 and PBKS still not out of the woods.

Livingstone then found a good ally in Jitesh Sharma as they took PBKS to safety, at 124/4. He went on to complete his half-century off 21 balls, hammering debutant Darshan Nalkande for a six and four in one over and striking him for two successive fours in another over. It was his second successive half-century in IPL to help PBKS recover.

The Englishman had struck 60 against Chennai Super Kings in their previous match, which helped them to their second win.

Punjab Kings lost their way a bit in the middle overs as Jitesh Sharma 23 of 11 balls) and Odean Smith (0) were out off successive deliveries off a Nalkande’s third over. Though Shah Rukh Khan avoided the hat-trick, he too did not last long, trapped lbw by Rashid Khan. Rahul Chahar and Arshdeep Singh landed a few lusty blows to take them to 189/9.

But in the end that proved insufficient as Tewatia snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for Gujarat Titans.

Meanwhile, skipper Hardik Pandya said opener Gill’s knock of 96 from 59 deliveries and his 100-run partnership with Sai Sudharsan (35) was crucial in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

“The kind of ups and downs happen, I think I have now become used to. It was Kings’ game; some sympathy for them losing this. Gill has been telling everybody that he is there. A lot of credit goes to Sai as well,” Pandya said during the post-match presentation.

Asked how he has been coping batting and bowling after a long time, Pandya said, “Body is coping all right; I am getting tired obviously. As the games come, I’ll be getting better.”

Gill, on his part, said it was important for him to bat till the end to ensure victory. He said the key to such a chase is to keep the scoreboard ticking.

“It’s important to keep the scoreboard ticking. The outfield is really rapid…It’s just about execution,” he said.

“It’s just one of those days when I was hitting the ball well. Trust me, I am hitting it very hard from my own power! It might not feel like that, but I am doing my level best. (For) Me as an opener is important to bat through the innings,” said Gill, who was adjudged the man of the match for his brilliant knock.




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