By Suhas Nayse – SJFI Member
Rahul Tewatia displayed another dramatic batting performance to snatch a sensational five-wicket victory for Rajasthan Royals in the Dream11 Indian Premier League match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Rahul did it again for RR after his match-winning contribution against Kings XI Punjab when he had smoked five successive sixes off Sheldon Cottrell. The young southpaw together with Riyan Parag shattered the hopes of Sunrisers Hyderabad with fearless batting as the duo added an unbeaten 85 runs for the sixth wicket under tremendous pressure.
SRH, the champions in the 2016 edition, looked like coasting towards an easy win when Sanju Samson (26: 25 balls, 3×4) was dismissed by Rashid Khan at the score of 78 in 12 overs. With 81 runs needed in eight overs with top order batsmen cooling their heels in the dugout, it appeared RR will not make it.
However, 27-year-old bowling all-rounder joined Riyan and the two slowly and steadily built a solid partnership mixing caution with aggression.
The duo changed their gears in the last three overs bowled by Sandeep Sharma, Rashid Khan and Khaleel Ahmed. Both
Rahul and teenager Riyan dealt with boundaries in the 18th and 19th overs to frustrate the opposition. In the last over, the champions of the inaugural edition in 2008 needed just eight runs which the team achieved on the penultimate ball of the game when Riyan hammered a six off Khaleel. As the ball sailed over in the extra-cover stands, Riyan danced on the pitch to celebrate a spectacular win.
Eighteen-year-old batsman from Assam remained unbeaten on 42 off 26 balls with the aid of 2 sixes and as many fours. Rahul smashed an undefeated 45 off 28 deliveries, studded with four boundaries and a couple of big sixes.
Earlier, SRH posted 158 for 4, courtesy Manish Pandey’s 54 and captain David Warner’s 48 on a slow wicket. Kane Williamson (22 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (16) and Priyam Garg (15) were the other notable contributors. Jofra Archer, Kartik Tyagi and Jaydev Unadkat bowled brilliantly to restrict the SRH innings.
With the third win in seven matches, RR have moved up to the sixth spot with six points to their credit. SRH also had six points from seven games but they are placed a rung above thanks to their better net run rate.
Brief scores: SRH 158 for 4 in 20 overs (Manish Pandey 54, David Warner 48, Kane Williamson 22 not out, Jonny Bairstow 16, Priyam Garg 15; Jofra Archer 1-25, Kartik Tyagi 1-29, Jaydev Unadkat 1-31) lost to RR 163 for 5 in 19.5 overs (Rahul Tewatia 45 not out, Riyan Parag 42 not out, Sanju Samson 26, Robin Uthappa 18, Jos Butler 16; Rashid Khan 2-25, Khaleel Ahmed 2-37) by five wickets. Man-of-the-match: Rahul Tewatia (RR).