Rahul Tewatia, Welcome to the Overnight IPL Sensation Club


Rahul Tewatia, Welcome to the Overnight IPL Sensation Club

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

With IPL 2020 on in full swing, there’s no shortage of nail-biting action on the pitch, even if there is a shortage of fans in the stadium. Nonetheless, everyone watching the Rajasthan Royals versus Kings XI Punjab match at home yesterday would have been served up a thrilling display courtesy of RR’s Rahul Tewatia. The 27-year-old left-handed batsman weathered a shaky start to shift gears and smash five sixes in an over, boosting RR’s run-rate sky high and setting the stage for the following batsmen to take the team past the target of 224. Tewatia himself got out in the 19th over, but by then, his onslaught had accomplished exactly what it needed to.

6666.6W6616 💥

It rained sixes at Sharjah as Rahul Tewatia and Jofra Archer pulled off an unbelievable heist in the #IPL2020

Prior to that onslaught, Rajasthan Royals required 51 off 18 deliveries – they’ve won with three balls to spare 🤯 pic.twitter.com/nglADX3PJn

— ICC (@ICC) September 27, 2020

The unfortunate bowler on the receiving end of Tewatia’s flurry of sixes was West Indies’ left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell. It was easily Cottrell’s worst night of the tournament so far. But for Tewatia, it was a night to remember. After an unsteady start to his innings, where he made only 17 runs off 23 balls, with no boundaries, Tewatia appeared to suddenly find a sublime patch of form. “That was the worst first 20 balls that I have ever played. I was hitting the ball very good in the nets, so I had belief in myself and kept going,” he told reporters after the match.

“Keep the faith” – Rahul Tewatia, 2017#RRvKXIP | #IPL2020 pic.twitter.com/AGAMa07AZe

— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 27, 2020

Tewatia’s blazing innings became the toast of social media, with memes coming thick and fast after the match was decided. One compared RR captain Steve Smith to Marvel’s Hugo Strange for his foresight in promoting Tewatia up the order.

Steve Smith taking the decision of sending Rahul Tewatia at number 4. #RRvKXIP pic.twitter.com/VXdWM3S0Sf

— Pakchikpak Raja Babu (@HaramiParindey) September 27, 2020

Another perfectly summed up what Tewatia and every RR fan must have felt as Cottrell limped through his punishing over.

Rahul Tewatia

Before and After Cortell’s over :- #Valimai pic.twitter.com/iKsxLY3exT

— VARUN AFC (@varun__23) September 27, 2020

One meme didn’t let Tewatia off the hook for his slow start, but also recognised his power once he got going.

Rahul Tewatia

With Samson with Archer pic.twitter.com/IZ7Qudgw0k

— jack (@cinejac) September 27, 2020

A user compared Tewatia’s attack on Cottrell to Yuvraj Singh’s famous demolition of Stuart Broad.

Rahul tewatia hits 5sixes in a over
Yuvi be like* pic.twitter.com/20FoAM3bXb

— Sarcasticshibbu (@Sarcasticshibbu) September 27, 2020

And Yuvraj himself responded, after Tewatia came within touching distance of his record of six sixes in an over.

Mr @rahultewatia02 na bhai na 😅 thanks for missing one ball ! What a game congratulations to rr for a spectacular win !!! #RRvKXIP @mayankcricket great knock @IamSanjuSamson brilliant !

— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) September 27, 2020

One of the thrills of the IPL is watching lesser-known players grab the spotlight, and this year the first opportunity to have that honour goes to Rahul Tewatia.