Rahul Tewatia on his very first day of Indian Premier League (IPL) played a match-winning role for Kings XI Punjab.
He defended a decent total against Kolkata Knight Riders. The visitors were in a good position before Tewatia was introduced.
The leg-spinner has taken the wicket of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa in the same over. His superb spell helped Kings XI Punjab to register a comeback victory at Mohali on Tuesday.
KXIP mentor Virender Sehwag was happy with the debutante’s performance and had this to say to the bowler, “Chaa gaya ladke, aise hee khelta reh. Yahi chaiye tujhse. Aaj khela tu apna game aur jeetaya” (You rocked with your performance today. Keep playing like this. This is what is required from you. Today you played your natural game and won the match for the team).
“Viru Bhaiya is my mentor and also a role model. His appreciation means a lot to me. I was anticipating getting a game a long before. He knew I was getting desperate to make a mark. I am happy to have bowled to the plan and yielded results.
After the power play, Viru Bhaiya and Glenn Maxwell wanted me to bowl a tight line and length and aim for wickets. Chris Lynn was plundering runs from all corners. Once Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa were back to the pavilion, we exerted pressure tactics,” said Tewatia, who hails from Faridabad in Haryana.
Tewatia’s 8-ball cameo of 15 runs was the most entertaining moment of the day. He conceded four runs in the first over and removed Gambhir and Uthappa in the second over. So far, he has played five first-class matches, six List A and nine T20 matches for Haryana. With his match winning spell, Tewatia won the heart of former Indian opener Virender Sehwag.
In fact, it was Sehwag who recommended the leggie’s name at the auction. Earlier, he played for Rajasthan Royals and in 2014 and 2015 editions.
“Rahul has turned into a useful all-rounder in the last couple of years. He did well for Haryana in the Last Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in both the departments. Viru bhaiya likes him a lot as a cricketer. I’m sure, Rahul made him proud with his performance. He has spent quality time with Viru Bhaiya and picked a lot from him,” said a Haryana Cricket Association official.