Sanju Samson On Batting With Tewatia & Why Coach Sent Him at 4

WATCH VIDEO: Sanju Samson reveals whose idea it was to send Rahul Tewatia at number 4 vs Kings XI Punjab.

3 min read

Rahul Tewatia's five sixes off the 18th over bowled by Sheldon Cottrell coupled with Sanju Samson's 85 off 42 balls helped Rajasthan Royals overhaul a target of 224 set by Kings XI Punjab on Sunday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

RR won the match by four wickets, breaking the record for the highest successful run chase in the history of IPL.

However, the match didn't look at all like it would end in Rajasthan’s favour, after 15 overs of their chase. They had just 140/2 on the board and needed 84 off the last 30 balls. Sanju Samson was hitting it big and had made 64 off 35 but Rahul Tewatia, in the team as a spinner, had laboured to 14 runs off 21 balls and was under immense pressure to go for big runs, but was just failing to connect.

However, Tewatia remained focused on the task at hand and once Samson got out, he switched gears and in the 18th over, hit five sixes off Sheldon Cottrell to help the chase.

“It was a very brave innings from Tewatia. He never gave up. I could see that he was so down (during their partnership) but he didn’t give up and he had the ability to come up and strike those 30 runs off an international player. It is a great confidence booster for him.”
Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson On Batting With Tewatia & Why Coach Sent Him at 4

Playing in the team as a spinner, Tewatia was however sent into bat at number 4 ahead of Robin Uthappa and Riyan Parag. Steve Smith had just lost his wicket to the last ball of the 9th over and the team needed 124 runs from 66 balls.

So, what was the logic behind sending a bowler in to bat in such a high-pressure situation?

“I think it was our coach Andrew McDonald and Zubin (Cricket Director)… We have been working really hard on Rahul Tewatia. I think he’s a proper leg-spinner and the management kind of saw the batting abilities he has, in the practise match. So they decided to send him up the order. I think was a really brave move and he made them all really proud.”
Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson On Batting With Tewatia & Why Coach Sent Him at 4

Chasing 224, RR lost opener Buttler (4) in quick time but his partner Steve Smith kept the fight on. Smith received decent support from Samson. The duo powered RR to the first three-digit mark in just nine overs before James Neesham got the much-needed breakthrough by sending back dangerous Smith for 50.

Samson and Tewatia denied their opponents from making any more onslaughts as they swiftly added 61 runs in the next seven overs. While trying to meet the mounting run-rate, Samson became a victim of Mohammed Shami in the 17th over. But by that time, he had put chase back on track even as he walked back to the hut on a 42-ball 85.

After the match, Sanju was asked about how he approached the chase:

“When you are chasing 220, there’s only one way to go - play in the fifth gear. So it was easier. When you’re chasing 160-170 you need to think twice, like how to reach there but it’s simpler now, it was just ‘see ball, hit ball’.”
Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson On Batting With Tewatia & Why Coach Sent Him at 4

In successfully chasing Punjab’s 223/4, Rajasthan pulled off the highest successful run chase in the history of the tournament. Their record this season is two wins from two matches with their next outing on 30 September vs Kolkata Knight Riders.

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