Calling Rahul Tewatia ‘The Chase Master’ won’t be out of place, given that the hard-hitter has been bludgeoning oppositions into submission late in the order.
On Saturday, the 28-year-old Gujarat Titans player once again came up with a knock that left the rivals in tatters as he and David Miller went about smashing the Royal Challengers bowlers into submission, scoring unbeaten 43 (25 balls) and 39 (24 balls) respectively and overhauling the stiff 170-run target with three balls to spare.
Tewatia said that the secret behind his and Miller’s partnership was simulating the conditions in practice sessions.
“During our practice sessions, we talk about how to finish a game at the end and what we can plan. Finishing the game in the middle with him is enjoyable,” said Tewatia of his partnership with Miller.
Tewatia indicated that he identifies his technical flaws that might allow rival team bowlers to get the better of him and keeps working on improvements till he becomes a complete player.
“I had improved my off-stump game quite a bit from the start of the IPL and hit quite a few shots. Because bowlers had begun planning and keeping the field outside off stump, so I thought that if I can hit my shots in the gap, I can get boundaries there too. So I could open up the game on both sides,” said Tewatia.
“You have to play pre-planned shots in the death overs, but I certainly see the field. But at the end, you have to just see the ball and hit it. So I try to hit it on the offside if it’s outside the off-stump. If its on the leg-stump, that is my area, so I shouldn’t miss out,” he elaborated.
Tewatia also indicated that the trick to perform in crunch situations is to harness nervous energy and not succumb to it.
“I can’t say I am cool, I just appear cool. But inside, there’s lots going on in the mind – when do I start executing what I’ve planned, which bowler should I take a chance on. I think of lots of things and follow the plans I’ve set after that thinking.”
Skipper Hardik Pandya too was all praise for Tewatia, saying, “The kind of players we have finishing the job for us… someone like a Tewatia, Rashid (Khan), Miller as well… the way they are batting, it kind of gives me confidence that even our 8, 9, 10 can come and win the game.”
“It’s important to keep that belief within you, that till you are at the crease, you can do anything,” added Tewatia.
Pandya added that the key to remaining in a game was to always be aware of the situation and not leave everything for the last moment.
“We try to make sure we kind of keep the game always in check, making sure we’re there in the game,” Pandya said of how the chase was constructed. “Obviously a lot of games where the opposition was on top of us but we kind of pulled the game back towards our side and ended up winning that game. But generally, our plan is to make sure we keep as little as possible in the death. But obviously, if you lose a couple of wickets in the middle it’s always going to happen that the run-rate is going to go up.”