For the second time, Rahul Tewatia did the incredible against Punjab Kings. On Friday night at the Brabourne Stadium, Tewatia hit Odean Smith for successive sixes to pull off a heist and power Gujarat Titans to a six-wicket win. Tewatia had done something similar against the Kings in IPL 2020 when he smashed five sixes in a stunning win in Sharjah.
When Tewatia came to the crease at the fall of captain Hardik Pandya’s wicket, Titans needed 18 off five balls from the final over bowled by Smith. It boiled down to 12 from two after David Miller had clattered a boundary off the third ball. Tewatia launched the penultimate delivery over midwicket for a six and then calmly smacked the last ball over long-on to finish the match in style.
If not for Tewatia’s brutal finish, Shubman Gill’s sublime innings of 96 (56b, 4×11, 1×6) would have gone in vain. Gill’s knock eclipsed Liam Livingstone’s second-fastest fifty this season (50 off 21).
Gill’s turbocharged knock set up Titans’ chase of a stiff target of 190. It was a stylish knock by the talented player who pummelled the hapless Punjab attack with an assortment of cuts, drives, and short arm pulls. Gill added 101 runs off 68 balls for the second wicket with debutant Sai Sudharsan, which swung the game in favour of the Titans. Sudharsan showed no nerves during his knock of 35 (30b 4×4, 1×6) until he skied a catch to Mayank Agarwal off Rahul Chahar. Gill slowed down as he neared his hundred, and Hardik, though he muscled a few hits, was unconvincing during his stay. Arshdeep Singh bowled two tight overs, and the run rate climbed. Kagiso Rabada returned and scalped Gill to set up a tight finish. But Smith, who dropped Gill earlier off his bowling, endured a horror night and couldn’t defend 19 runs.
Earlier, Liam Livingstone’s second consecutive fifty (64) this season powered Punjab Kings to 189 for nine. Canny bowling by Rashid Khan (three for 22) at the death put the skids on Kings’ charge and restricted it to a much lesser total than it had threatened to score at one stage. Rashid’s two-wicket 16th over, in which he dismissed the dangerous Livingstone and Shahrukh Khan, triggered a collapse that saw Kings lose four wickets for just nine runs. However, Chahar (22 not out off 14 balls) played a cameo and added 27 runs for the last wicket with Arshdeep, which enabled their side to finish strongly. However, Tewatia had other plans.