IPL 2017, KXIP vs KKR: Rahul Tewatia's double blow is the SK Play of the Day
Rahul Tewatia turned out to be a surprising hero for Kings XI Punjab.
Who would have thought that little-known leg-spinner, Rahul Tewatia would produce the over that would keep Kings XI Punjab in contention for a playoff berth? The former Rajasthan Royals leggie picked up the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa in one over to turn the match on its head.
Gambhir and Chris Lynn had put on a 39 run stand with most of the runs coming from the Australian. Just when it looked like the partnership would push Punjab out of the tournament, Maxwell turned to his trio of spinners, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia and Swapnil Singh.
The run rate took a dip but Kolkata were cruising on Lynn's wonderful stroke play so the drop in scoring rate did not matter much. But the Kolkata skipper seemed to think otherwise.
The Tewatia blow
Tewatia last played an IPL game in 2015 for the Rajasthan Royals outfit. The Haryana cricketer is still a virtual unknown in cricketing circles but started today with a tidy 3 run over. In his second over, Tewatia struck gold.
He dismissed the KKR skipper, Gambhir, with a googly that was sliced off the edge to deep mid-wicket. The catch was taken and Tewatia had brought back Punjab into the game.
However, Uthappa, who has had a great IPL thus far, walked in.
The wicket-keeper batsman was returning from an injury but that did not deter him from taking on the leg-spinner off the first ball he faced. The ball was skied due to poor timing and Axar Patel grabbed a good diving catch to sink Kolkata.
Tewatia had struck twice in the over and the double blow opened up a rather untested Kolkata middle-order. The leggie went on to bowl a sensational spell conceding just 18 runs in his full quota of overs.
Given that leg-spinners have had so much success in this tournament and, of late, in limited overs cricket, it is a surprise that Punjab kept back Tewatia till this stage of the season. The move, however, was timely as the wrist spinner's double-wicket over pegged back Kolkata Knight Riders.