Rahul Tewatia became a household name in the 2020 Indian Premier League when he fouled the Punjab Kings (then known as Kings XI Punjab) during a league match. Chasing a target of 227, Tewatia had a terrible start to his innings as he scored 17 runs in 23 balls with only 3 overs remaining in the innings. Royals still needed 61 runs to win in the next three overs when the KL Rahul-led Kings brought Sheldon Cottrell into the attack.
In a brilliant display of power-hitting, Tewatia turned the game around with 5 sixes in an over and 47 off 29 to take the Royals past 200 in the 18th over. RR eventually chased down the target with 4 overs to spare to win the match by 5 wickets.
Tewatia became an overnight sensation after his innings and was bought by Gujarat Titans in the IPL auction last year for Rs 9 crore. He played a key role in the team’s title campaign and also made important cameo knocks during the ongoing season. But the versatile 29-year-old has now admitted that he thought his career was “over” when he failed to hit the perimeter against Punjab.
Speaking to Gaurav Kapur on Gujarat Titans’ podcast, Tewatia reflected on the knock and said that he anticipated the worst during the innings.
“Every game is different. Look at the innings in Sharjah, the start was not good. I just didn’t get stuck. It was a disgrace. It was embarrassing and almost unfathomable. I think I scored just 8 off 17 balls. Try as I might, I couldn’t even hit a simple full toss,” Tewatia recalled.
“Various thoughts were running through my mind. I even thought this is my last IPL match. Watch this tournament.”
“I thought it couldn’t get any worse as I had already hit the bottom. I needed 61 runs in the third over and (Sheldon) Cottrell came in to bowl. There was only one way to do it. I heard a sigh of relief , the second I connected and my confidence increased, Robin Uthappa bhai who was on the other side after the third six said I will hit all those balls.
The ‘Desi Jat’ in me has woken up. The moment he bowled, I crossed the middle wicket. From what I remember it was also in the slots. When I saw the highlights, I realized that I can go for 6 as well, but I was very excited with the way I hit the six in the first four,” Tewatia said.
So far this year, Tewatia has faced 47 balls but scored 80 runs. His role was mainly as a slog in the last over of the game. Thanks to the Titans’ impressive batting average this year, Tewatia has only earned batting opportunities in five matches so far. The team has already qualified for the play-offs and will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final league game of the season on Sunday night.