Having seen Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) Rahul Tewatia pulling off a heist against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen said he would never write off anyone of any team in the remainder of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
In the 9th game of IPL 13, Tewatia struggled to get going early in his innings after he was sent at No. 4 ahead of the likes of Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag. But with 51 needed off 18 deliveries, the southpaw turned the game on its head as he smashed left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in the 18th over.
Even though Tewatia (53 off 31 balls) got out in the penultimate over, Jofra Archer (13 not out) and Tom Curran (4 not out) took the Royals past the daunting target of 224 with three balls to spare.
Earlier, Sanju Samson (85 off 42 balls) and Steve Smith (50 off 27 balls) produced blinders to lead the foundation for Rajasthan’s successful chase.
"It was stunning to watch. It's not so stunning if you are a Kings XI fan. 86 off 4 overs to turn this game. They snatched defeat from the jaws of defeat so effortlessly. As Michael Slater said on commentary, I will never ever write off anyone or any team in this great game ever again. I don't think we can do it for the rest of the tournament, no matter what the situation of the game," Pietersen said during a post-match show on Star Sports.
He also pointed out that Samson was watching the turnaround with disbelief after he got out.
"He (Samson) is cuddling Tewatia so much. He felt under pressure. He turned singles down and wanted to retain the strike. He then gets out after playing some of the most fabulous shots, and Tewatia says 'hold on, if you could do it, then so can I’. I bet you Samson never ever believed that Tewatia could do that. His emotion now makes me guarantee that," Pietersen remarked.
Meanwhile, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar was also left mesmerised by Tewatia’s heroics as he struck 36 runs off his last 8 balls.
"Unbelievable and mind-blowing. It never looked possible at one stage because Tewatia was struggling to get past the 30-yard circle. He was playing and missing and not able to connect. But eventually, what he did was understand his strength and went for it. Earlier on, he was trying to reverse sweep but if it's not strength, why go for it? He came so well, he did not give up.
"You could see the disbelief on Sanju Samson's face. That's cricket. You can never predict in this game because this can turn around so quickly," Gavaskar said.