Rahul Tewatia broke the Punjab Kings hearts with two sixes off the final two balls to hand the Gujarat Titans a six-wicket victory in a tense Indian Premier League clash at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday evening.
Punjab had pushed Gujarat to the edge of despair with the Titans needing 12 runs off the final two balls of the innings with David Miller and Tewatia at the crease, having just faced five balls between them, but Tewatia clubbed Odean Smith (3-0-35-0) for two maximums over the mid-wicket fence to send their fans into raptures and keep their unbeaten status in the competition.
The Punjab Kings had posted 189 for nine thanks to an excellent 64 from just 27 balls by Englishman Liam Livingstone after Hardik Pandya had won the toss and asked Mayank Agarwal’s side to bat first.
Livingstone, who struck seven fours and four sixes, was key to Punjab’s effort, sharing in a third-wicket stand of 52 from 33 balls with Shikhar Dhawan (35). Livingstone and the young Jitesh Sharma (23) also put on a quick 38 for the fourth wicket, in just 19 balls as Sharma struck one four and two sixes in a care-free knock.
The leg-spin of Rashid Khan (4-0-22-3) brought the Punjab innings back to earth, dismissing Dhawan, who edged behind to Matthew Wade before having Livingstone caught on the deep mid-wicket fence by Miller and trapping Shahrukh Khan in front for 15.
Darshan Nalkande (3-0-37-2) turned the innings on its head when Livingstone and Sharma were in full flow as he had Sharma and Smith (0) caught at long-on off successive balls by Shubman Gill.
The Kings were looking to lose their way before Arshdeep Singh (10 not out) and Rahul Chahar (22 not out) added 27 unbeaten runs for the final wicket from only 13 balls.
In reply, the Titans lost the early wicket of Wade, caught behind by Jonny Bairstow from the bowling of Kagiso Rabada (4-0-35-2) before a wonderful second-wicket stand of 101 from 68 balls between Gill (96) and Sai Sudharsan (35) looked set to give the Titans an easy victory.
However, Chahar (4-0-41-1) had Sudharsan caught at mid-off by Agarwal from a top-edge. The loss of the wicket stemmed the flow of the boundaries and the Kings started to come back into the match. Pandya (27) started slowly before finding his groove but as the Titans captain started finding the gaps, Gill got out.
Gill struck 11 boundaries and one six from 59 balls and was the heart of the Titans innings but having failed to face many deliveries of late, slapped a wide full-toss from Rabada straight to Agarwal in the covers.
The Titans needed 19 runs from the final over, bowled by Smith. The first ball was a wide and then Miller and Pandya, who faced 18 balls and struck five boundaries, tried to sneak a single but Bairstow was quick to react and ran out Pandya.
With two balls remaining and 12 runs still to get, Tewatia bravely swung and cracked the ball just over the mid-wicket fence for six, leaving a maximum to get off the final ball. Smith again bowled it in the slot and this time Tewatia timed it to perfection and sent the ball sailing into the crowd to secure the two points for the victory and condemning the Kings to their second defeat in four starts.