Rahul Tewatia turned hero from zero as Rajasthan Royals staged one of the craziest comebacks in global franchise cricket to defeat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
The second consecutive victory saw Rajasthan eclipse a batting masterclass from Mayank Agrawal and KL Rahul who notched up a 183-run opening wicket partnership leading Punjam to a tournament-high 223-2.
Three half centuries were made in reply with Tewatia one among them writing a story of redemption after he initially failed to connect the ball but was the cornerstone in leading Rajasthan to 226-6 in 19.3 overs.
After skipper Steven Smith fell for a 27-ball 50, it was left on Sanju Samson and Tewatia to lead the Rajasthan charge. Samson managed to make runs at will but Tewatia failed to live up to expectations as the allrounder himself was left frustrated at times.
He was batting on a sluggish eight off 19 before hitting Ravi Bishnoi for his first six of the game. Bishnoi conceded eight runs in the 15th over leaving Rajasthan with 84 to get from last five overs.
The match turned into its head when Samson smashed Glenn Maxwell for 21 runs alone in the 16th over including three sixes. Samson fell in the next over off Mohammad Shami who gave away just 12 runs. Then the Tewatia show began.
Batting on 17 off 23, Tewatia struck West Indian fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in the 17th over. Shami removed Uthappa in the first ball of next over but Jofra Archer struck two consecutive sixes and Tewatia hammered another to complete his half century in just 30 deliveries.
Tewatia fell in the last ball but the job was done with Rajasthan needing just two from the last over. Tom Curran hit the winning boundary off Murugan Ashwin in the third ball of the final over.
Samson top scored for Rajasthan making a 42-ball 85 with seven sixes. A total of 29 sixes were scored in the match with Rajasthan slamming 18 of them.
Earier, Mayank smashed his maiden Indian Premier League century completing the triple figures in just 45 deliveries. Mayank had struck 84 against Delhi Capitals in their tournament opener and on Sunday brought IPL’s eighth fastest century.
He smashed 10 boundaries and seven sixes to make 50-ball 106 before falling to Tom Curran. Rahul came into the match having made a scintillating 132 not out against Royal Challengers Bangalore picked up from where he had left scoring 69 off 54 hitting seven fours and a six. Rahul and Mayank also brought IPL’s eighth highest partnership.
The first two biggest partnerships in IPL history belong to AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli as the Royal Challengers Bangalore duo had added 229 and 215 runs in the 2016 and 2016 edition respectively.
While bringing tournament’s highest score, Punjab left behind Rajasthan’s 216 which they had scored against Chennai Super Kings. Nicholas Pooran (25 off 8) and Glenn Maxwell (nine) helped Punjab achieve that new feat.