Rahul Tewatia was responsible for one of the strangest and most remarkable innings T20 cricket has ever seen today.
Promoted up the Rajasthan Royals order to No. 4 in their chase of 224 against Kings XI Punjab, Tewatia started his innings torturously. With the asking rate above 11 runs per over, he scratched his way to five off 13, eight off 19 and later 17 off 23. At that point the required run rate had leapt up to an eye-watering 17 runs an over as the Royals needed 51 from the last three overs.
What followed was an extraordinary display of ball-striking. Tewatia proceeded to hit six of the next seven balls he faced over the ropes for six. From nowhere, it was the Royals’ game and just minutes after being their potential “villain”, Tewatia was their hero.
During his innings’ lowest moments, he had plenty of respected and authoritative voices in the game questioning the Royals’ decision to move him up the order. When he was 17 off 23, The CricViz Analyst explained just how damaging his knock was for his side, at that moment.
So far, this is an incredibly damaging knock from Rahul Tewatia. His Batting Impact is -15, suggesting that his time at the crease has cost Rajasthan 15 runs. He could recover, but the damage has probably been done. #IPL2020 #RRvKXIP
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) September 27, 2020
And recover he did.
When on five off 13 amid debate over whether teams should retire out batsmen struggling for timing, ESPNcricinfo journalist Sidharth Monga wrote on the site’s ball-by-ball coverage: “I feel for Tewatia, I really do, because he will become the villain of the match, and he is an earnest cricketer who loves to do whatever he can for the team, but he has been put in an impossible position by the management who have over-estimated his batting drastically. He is watching the ball well, but he doesn’t seem to have the shots.”
Monga wasn’t alone in writing off Tewatia before he made his astonishing recovery.
Feel for Tewatia. But he is losing his team the game
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 27, 2020
It isn't even a question of Tewatia's 'intent' here, he is simply not a good enough batsmen.
— Kieran (@BerbaSpinCric) September 27, 2020
Not Tewatia's fault at all. Team management's poor decision making him bat up. #IPL2020
— Sreshth Shah (@sreshthx) September 27, 2020
HORRIBLE decision to send in Tewatia as the so-called pinch hitter at No.4. He's struggling 5(13)*🤦🏼♂️🤦🏼♂️#SanjuSamson must also be losing his momentum being stuck with such a partner.#RR were rocking this chase (Smith – Samson partnership👌) till this Tewatia came in!#KXIPvsRR
— Kaushik LM… #RIPSPBSir (@LMKMovieManiac) September 27, 2020
Two bad moves by Steve Smith, Opting to bowl 1st on a blinding wicket even with dew in 2nd half that too is forgiven but sending Rahul Tewatia at No.4 is unforgivable.
Ravi Bishnoi we can see him soon in Indian Team. Still remember the fight he put up in U-19 finals.
— TamilNadu Weatherman (@praddy06) September 27, 2020
"Awful awful feeling if you are Tewatia. He is a deer in the headlights, and he has frozen. I know you are debating the retire-out. Its a compassionate move."
These were some commentaries by EspnCricinfo on @rahultewatia02
If you are down & out in life, be inspired by this man.
— Shiv Sunny (@shivsunny) September 27, 2020
— Warren Tarling (@wozzajt) September 27, 2020
Need to retire out Tewatia now that you have messed up. #RR
— Saurabh Malhotra (@MalhotraSaurabh) September 27, 2020