IPL 2019: Steve Smith's patient innings for RR against KKR brings an end to form and fitness worries

Steve Smith, who underwent elbow surgery earlier this year, top-scored with 73 not out for Rajasthan Royals in their relatively meagre total of 139 for three in Jaipur.

Reuters, Apr 08, 2019 16:10:30 IST

New Delhi: Former captain Steve Smith laid to rest any concerns about his fitness and form ahead of the naming of Australia’s World Cup squad with his first half century of this year’s Indian Premier League on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Smith, who underwent elbow surgery earlier this year, top-scored with 73 not out for Rajasthan Royals in their relatively meagre total of 139 for three in Jaipur.

Steve Smith scored 73 off just 59 ball against KKR. Sportzpics

Steve Smith scored 73 off just 59 ball against KKR. Sportzpics

Smith’s innings lasted just 59 balls but he was relatively circumspect at the start against some tight bowling from spinners Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine.

West Indies all-rounder Narine (47) then combined with Australia’s Chris Lynn (50) in a 91-run opening partnership in 8.1 overs to set up an eight-wicket victory with 37 balls to spare.

Despite the loss, Smith’s innings would have pleased Australia’s selectors as they mull over their squad for the defence of the one-day World Cup in England and Wales.

Instead of a traditional all-out attacking innings normal in the Twenty20 format, Smith worked the ball into gaps and had scored just 39 runs from his first 40 balls before he accelerated in the final overs.

The innings drew some praise from West Indies batting great Brian Lara during the commentary of the match.

“He is not a big-hitter of the ball,” Lara said. “He’s not an Andre Russell or a Ben Stokes. He gets the gaps. I respect him.”Former England captain Michael Vaughan also tweeted that a six by Smith off Narine would put to bed any concerns over the elbow.

Smith’s 12-month international ban for ball tampering only ended 10 days ago and he has started slowly with scores of 20, 28 and 38 in his three matches before Sunday’s innings.

He had been playing mostly Twenty20 tournaments around the world during the ban. He also played club cricket in Sydney before having the surgery.

Both Smith and former Australia vice-captain David Warner missed last year’s IPL following the imposition of the bans by Cricket Australia for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked their national team.

Australia are expected to name their team for the defence of their World Cup title over the next week, with the 15-man squads needing to be finalised by April 23.

India captain Virat Kohli’s miserable IPL season continued on Sunday when his Royal Challengers Bangalore lost to the Delhi Capitals by four wickets, their sixth defeat in six matches this season.

For all the latest news, opinions and analysis from IPL 2019, click here

For the full schedule, date, time and venue of all the matches of IPL 12, click here

Check out the full points table for IPL 2019, including holders of Orange and Purple Caps

Updated Date: Apr 08, 2019 17:48:27 IST


IPL 2019 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Chennai
9 7 2 0 14
2
Mumbai
9 6 3 0 12
3
Delhi
9 5 4 0 10
4
Punjab
9 5 4 0 10
5
Hyderabad
8 4 4 0 8
6
Kolkata
8 4 4 0 8
7
Rajasthan
8 2 6 0 4
8
Bangalore
8 1 7 0 2
See Full Table





Top Stories

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5007 116
2 New Zealand 3570 108
3 South Africa 4397 105
4 Australia 4566 104
5 England 5490 104
6 Sri Lanka 4737 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 7259 123
2 India 8508 120
3 New Zealand 6071 112
4 South Africa 6181 112
5 Australia 5701 108
6 Pakistan 5147 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 5280 135
2 India 5726 122
3 England 3036 121
4 Australia 3613 120
5 South Africa 3366 120
6 New Zealand 3367 116