Rahul Tewatia was once again at the heart of a thrilling chase as Rajasthan Royals edged Sunrisers Hyderabad by five wickets in the Indian Premier League on Sunday.
Reduced to 78-5 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in a chase of 159, Tewatia and Riyan Parag denied Hyderabad the victory with a scintillating batting display. Batting first, two half centuries steered Hyderabad to 158-4 before Rajasthan sealed the chase in the penultimate ball of the match.
Following the much-needed victory, Rajasthan now have six points in the game and sit sixth in the table on net run rate after tying on six points with Hyderabad. Both teams have lost four matches each.
Rajasthan’s mammoth 224-run chase hero against Kings XI Punjab, Tewatia and Parag first chose to remain watchful before cutting loose in the 16th over. Parag hit a six off Khaleel Ahmed as Rajasthan scored 11 runs, needing 54 from last 24 deliveries.
Tewatia struck Sandeep Sharma for a six in the first ball of the 17th over and Parag hit two consecutive boundaries as Rajasthan collected 18 more. Still needing 36 from last three overs and with Rashid coming in for 18th, Rajasthan still couldn’t breate easy.
However, Tewatia clobbered Rashid for three consecutive boundaries – two from switch hit, bringing 14 runs from the 18th over. T Natarajan, tournament’s most consistent death over bowler, was also not spared in the penultimate over after Tewatia hit him for a four and a six collecting 14 runs as Rajasthan needed nine from the last over.
Ahmed did well to restrict Rajasthan to six runs from the first four balls and another Super Over was seemingly looming but Parag struck the fast bowler for a six over cover to ignite a wild celebration. Parag was unbeaten on 42 off 26 and Tewatia made an invaluable 45 off 28.
The two batsmen brought this edition’s highest partnership for the sixth wicket scoring 85 runs from 47 deliveries.
Ahmed had given early breakthroughs to unsettle Rajasthan in their start of the chase removing openers Ben Stokes (five) and Jos Buttler (16), while in between Steve Smith (five) ran himself out as they were 26-3 by the fifth over.
Robin Uthappa and Sanju Samson halted the rut and just when it seemed they were about to build on, Hyderabad’s golden arm struck. Afghan leggie Rashid dismissed Uthappa (18) and Samson in his consecutive overs leaving Rajasthan reeling at 78-5 in 12 overs.
Hyderabad boasted tournament’s most solid opening pair in Aussie David Warner and Jonny Bairstow but young seamer Kartik Tyagi gave Rajasthan the breakthrough removing the latter for 16 with 23 runs on the board.
Warner and Manish Pandey shared 73 runs for the second wicket but Rajasthan made sure it wouldn’t feature numerous big hitting. Warner was bowled by Jofra Archer after the captain made 48, his 38-ball innings including three fours and two sixes.
Pandey scored 54 from 44 with three sixes and two boundaries. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (22 off 12) and Priyam Garg (15) pushed Hyderabad towards a challenging total collecting 36 runs from last 12 deliveries.