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Give myself targets, play match simulations: Tewatia on finisher's role

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Last updated on 14 Apr 2023 | 04:27 AM
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Give myself targets, play match simulations: Tewatia on finisher's role

Walking in at a tricky situation, the southpaw scored the winning boundary to take his side home against PBKS

Over the last few days, we we have seen plenty of last-over finishes in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 and the latest game between Punjab Kings (PBKS) and the Gujarat Titans (GT) was no different. GT should have won the game quite comfortably given that they scored 56 runs in the powerplay, but PBKS bounced back extremely well in the middle-overs, giving away just 55.

Fast forward to the penultimate over and GT required just 13 more runs to win from 12 deliveries, but Arshdeep Singh bowled a top-class over giving away just six with a well-set Shubman Gill and the dangerous David Miller at the crease.

With seven required off the final over, Sam Curran had given away just three singles off the first four balls, including Gill's wicket for 67. Rahul Tewatia, who has been given the role to finish off the game, maintained a cool head as he scooped the ball over the short fine-leg fielder to win the game for his side, with just one more ball left.

Speaking about his role, Tewatia said that this is what he was assigned to do during his stint with the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and has taken a lot of practice to do it consistently.

"Nothing happens overnight. I was given this role in 2020 when I was with the Rajasthan Royals. When they gave me the role, there was clarity. Batting at No.6 or No.7...obviously you have 14 league games and you get to bat eight or nine times in this situation," Tewatia said at the post-match press conference.

"It's a different thing if your team collapses and you get to bat in the 10th or 11th over. So most of the time you get to bat only after the 13th or 14th over. I have been practicing the same thing for the last three-four years.

"I give myself targets, I play a lot of match simulations - which gives me the idea when I can take the chance and how I can finish the match. 

"According to me the most important thing is you need to know the right time and the right bowler. It's not like you can finish all 10 out of 10 matches but yes, you will finish the majority of the matches, which GT has been doing from the last season."

Tewatia faced just a couple of deliveries, but the southpaw says that he backed himself to find the boundary when needed. While crediting the Punjab bowlers for pulling things back, Tewatia praised Gill and Wriddhiman Saha for setting up the game initially.

"Targets like these, sometimes they become one-sided games. The kind of start given by Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill, they opened up the match but they [PBKS] came back and bowled well in the middle overs, they did not concede boundaries for three-four overs," Tewatia said.

"Credit should be given to them for pulling it back. Towards the end it was reversing and it became difficult to hit at will. But this is cricket - they came back well but we finished the game to be on the winning side," said Tewatia.

"When Shubman got out and was coming back, he told me that the ball was reversing a bit. So it was a good thing, getting the information from a set batsman when I was going in to play two-three balls. So knowing before-hand that the ball was reversing kept me prepared." 

"I had two things on my mind. The leg-side is a bigger side and I thought I could take a couple but I felt it was slightly risky and with two deliveries remaining I thought that was a better shot. The ball was also reversing. I backed myself and executed the shot."

Mohit Sharma played his first game for GT on Thursday (April 13) and was adjudged player of the match for his brilliant spell of 2 for 18. Tewatia, who plays with Mohit at Haryana at the domestic level reckons the pacer's spell after Punjab's powerplay helped GT pull the game back.

"I have been playing in the same academy as him from a young age. We have that bonding between us. I see him as a big brother. I remember when I was playing for Punjab in 2017, on my debut, he helped me a lot on the field especially," Tewatia said.

"There was no communication gap. I was happy for him when he played for us today. He was there in the squad last season but did not play for us. He has put in a lot of hardwork in the last two years, came back after a string of injuries. Punjab had a good score on the board in the powerplay but as soon as Mohit came on to bowl, his spell helped us come back in the game"

Mohit came into the side in place of Yash Dayal, who conceded five sixes in the last over against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) that lost GT the game. Speaking about the pacer, Tewatia says that the environment in GT is such that nobody would have even discussed it with him.

"What Yash did for us last season, he was one of our main bowlers. He played a huge role in us winning the title. He picked up wickets with the new ball last year and also bowled well at the death. Conceding runs in just one match does not change anything," Tewatia said.

The environment in GT is such, that I dnon't think anyone from the squad would have discussed this with him at all. Only if he thinks negatively, it can bring him down. At GT, the environment we have, we would never let him feel down. When I spoke to Yash, I told him that only you can bring yourself down, else in this environment, nobody will make you feel so. I told him to keep practicing and wait for your chance. You have noting to lose."

The Titans are one of three teams to have accumulated six points from the first four games this season. They will be in action next against the Royals at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Sunday (April 16).

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