After gaining an improbable win against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Rajasthan Royals‘ batsman Sanju Samson hailed Rahul Tewatia for not giving up and rising to the occasion when it really mattered. His remark came as Rajasthan Royals chased down a total of 224 to defeat KXIP by four wickets at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday. For Rajasthan Royals, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, and Rahul Tewatia all scored 50+ scores to give the side a victory by four wickets. Tewatia came out to bat at number four and he was struggling at one stage as he had scored just 13 runs from his first 19 balls.
However, in the 18th over bowled by Sheldon Cottrell, Tewatia hit five sixes to turn the tide. The left-handed batsman played a knock of 53 as Rajasthan gained an improbable victory.
“I think it was the team management’s decision to send Tewatia at number four,” Samson said during the post-match press conference.
“We have been really working hard on Rahul Tewatia. He is a proper leg-spinner (but) the management saw the batting ability he had during the training sessions (and) they decided to send him up the order. It was a brave move and it paid off,” he added.
Hailing Tewatia’s performance, Samson said: “It was a really good performance from him. Tewatia showed a lot of heart, he never gave up. He was so down and I could see that (but) he had the ability to come back and strike those 30 runs off an international bowler, in the coming tournament he will be crucial to us.”
Sanju Samson had played a knock of 74 runs against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and he followed it up with an 85-run knock against Kings XI Punjab.
Talking about his approach during the chase of 224 against Punjab, Samson said: “During the chase, there was just one way to go. Tt is easier in terms of thought process when you are chasing 220+, it was more about ’see the ball and hit the ball’.”
For the match against Punjab, Rajasthan had left out Yashasvi Jaiswal and David Miller to bring in Ankit Rajpoot and Jos Buttler.
Talking about these selections, Samson said: “Sharjah is tough for bowlers, we wanted to add one more bowler so we left out Yashasvi and we brought in Ankit Rajpoot. Definitely, with Jos Buttler in the squad, he has to play in the team. It’s a given and David Miller understood that.”
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