Rahul Tewatia ensured Shubman Gill’s highest ever IPL score didn’t go to waste by slamming two sixes off the last two balls of the match to take his team to a famous win at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
The Gujarat Titans won the toss and opted to bowl first. There is always some dew around later so it seemed to be the right call at the time.
But given the form Liam Livingstone is in – such decisions mean little to him. He has a boom-or-bust approach and right now, it is all going boom in a way that is making everyone else envious. His innings of 64 off 27 balls was the foundation upon which the PBKS total was built.
He came in to bat with PBKS on 34/2 and then lost no time before settling into a manic hitting rhythm. With Shikhar Dhawan for company, he put on 52 off 32 balls to get the innings going in the right direction.
The loss of the other batters didn’t slow Livingstone down either. Jitesh Sharma (23 off 11) played a smart little cameo and kept the momentum going.
But then PBKS lost quick wickets to be reduced to 156/8 after 16.2 overs. However, Rahul Chahar (22) and Arsheep (10) put together a vital last-wicket stand of 27 runs to take their team to 189/9 at the end of their 20 overs.
The obvious standout performer for GT in the bowling department was Rashid Khan, who somehow maintained a brilliant economy and took wickets amidst the carnage. The leg-spinner finished with 3/22 in his four overs.
In reply, GT knew they needed something special and they got that from Shubman Gill. The right-hander, who has come in for criticism due to his slow strike-rate in the past, got going right away and then kept going right till the end.
He scored his highest IPL score of 96 (59 balls) and played the kind of shots that reminded everyone of his class once again. The timing was on and the intent was great.
He shared a fine stand of 101 off 68 balls with Sai Sudharsan, who was making his debut for GT.
But given the daunting nature of the chase, GT still went into the last two overs needing 32 runs. Gill and skipper Hardik Pandya were in the middle at that point.
Rabada stepped up for the crucial over and despite being carted for two fours by Pandya, he managed to take the wicket of Gill and conceded just 13 runs in the over.
Going into the final over, GT needed 19 runs and the ball was handed over to Odean Smith. It was time to earn his stripes.
The first ball was a wide - David Miller took a swipe at it. The second was wide off the off-stump and inside the lines. Pandya set off for a single and was run out by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow.
But Miller hit a four to reduce the equation to 13 runs off 3 balls. It then became 12 off 2 – Smith had a run-out opportunity. He didn’t need to go for it, he missed and GT got a single. What a single it proved to be...
Rahul Tewatia, who had come in at the fall of Pandya’s wicket, smashed a six off the penultimate delivery to make it 6 needed off 1 ball.
The last delivery was wide but Tewatia (13 off 3 balls) stepped across the wickets and sent it sailing into the stands to spark off wild celebrations in the GT camp.