IPL fielder stuns cricketing world with aerial boundary effort

Rahul Tewatia smashed five sixes in an over off Kings XI Punjab pacer Sheldon Cottrell as Rajasthan Royals pulled off the highest successful run-chase in Indian Premier League history with three balls to spare this morning.

Chasing 224 for victory, Rajasthan won by four wickets with Tewatia turning the game around in the 18th over against Cottrell, which went for 30 runs. The fifth ball from the West Indies fast bowler was the only delivery not to be hit for six.

After a slow start, left-hander Tewatia scored a 31-ball 53 as Rajasthan reached 226-6 in 19.3 overs.

Rajasthan bettered its own previous IPL highest successful run-chase. Chasing a winning target of 215, it scored 217-7 to beat Deccan Chargers by three wickets in the 2008 edition at Hyderabad.

Tewatia’s hitting upstaged Mayank Agarwal’s first IPL hundred in Punjab’s strong total of 223-2 after Rajasthan skipper Steve Smith won the toss and opted to field.

“That was something else, wasn’t it?” Smith said of a stunning run-chase.

“What we have seen from Tewatia in the nets is what we saw in that Cottrell over … he showed heart. He told me during the timeout we still believe.”

Sanju Samson (85) and Smith (50) scored brisk half centuries to keep Rajasthan in the hunt, but it was Tewatia’s late onslaught which gave Rajasthan two victories from two IPL games.

Punjab has two points from three matches with their only victory coming against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Punjab had a grip on the game by the end of the 15th over with Rajasthan still needing 84 runs off 30 balls.

Part of that thanks to an incredible fielding effort by Nicholas Pooran in the eighth over, when he denied Samson a six by jumping over the boundary rope, catching the ball midair and managing to flick it back into the field before touching the ground again.

Both commentators in the match and pundits on social media hailed it as one of the greatest fielding displays ever in T20.

Indian great Sachin Tendulkar went as far as to call it "the best save I have seen in my life".

But Samson stayed focused and hit Australian offspinner Glenn Maxwell for three sixes before he sliced a slow bouncer from Mohammad Shami (3-53) to wicketkeeper K.L. Rahul.

Tewatia had consumed 23 balls in scoring 17 runs but with 51 required off the last three overs, he smashed Cottrell (1-52 in three overs) for five big sixes.

“Now I am better,” a relieved Tewatia said. “(It was) the worst 20 balls I have ever played, after that I began to hit so I kept going. The dugout knows I can hit the ball long. I knew I had to believe in myself.”

Jofra Archer smashed two sixes off Shami’s first two balls in the 19th over that he faced and Tewati hit the fast bowler over point for a six which brought the target down to just two runs off seven deliveries.

Tewatia finally holed out at midwicket which gave Shami his third wicket before Tom Curran hit the winning boundary against legspinner Murugan Ashwin.

“Look that is T20 cricket, we have seen this a lot of time,” Punjab skipper Rahul said.

“We need to keep our chin up … it is okay to have one bad game, good that it happened early in the tournament. On small grounds, the total doesn’t really matter (and) bowlers are going for runs in the back end.”

Earlier Agarwal, playing in his 10th IPL season, featured in a 183-run opening wicket stand with Rahul off just 99 balls as both the overseas Rajasthan bowlers -- Curran (1-44) and Archer (0-46) - could not stop the flow of runs.

Agarwal hit 10 fours and seven sixes before holing out at deep midwicket off a low full toss from Curran in the 17th over for a 50-ball 106.

Rahul, who scored a century against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the last game, made 69 off 54 and Pooran (25 off 8) smashed three sixes at the end which propelled Punjab to what had appeared a daunting target.