IPL 2019 | New Skipper Steve Smith Leads RR to Crucial Win Over MI

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: April 21, 2019, 9:26 AM IST
IPL 2019 | New Skipper Steve Smith Leads RR to Crucial Win Over MI

Steve Smith in action against MI. (Image: IPL)

Steve Smith, who was appointed captain of Rajasthan Royals before the IPL 2019 game against Mumbai Indians, led his side to victory at Jaipur on Saturday (April 20) and kept their slim chances of making the play-offs alive.

Chasing 162 to win, a 70-run partnership between Smith (59*) and Riyan Parag (43) for the fourth wicket laid the foundation for the win as RR eventually got to the target with 5 balls to spare.

The Royals started brightly, with Sanju Samson in particular looking in ominous touch. Boundaries came at ease for Samson but Ajinkya Rahane, who was stripped of the captaincy before the game, continued to struggle.

He did eventually get a couple of balls away to the fence but was the first to depart in the 4th over, going for an inside out shot off Rahul Chahar but only finding Suryakumar Yadav in the 30-yard circle.

Out came new captain Smith, who also looked to take on the bowlers early. However, the approach changed drastically when RR lost both Samson (35) and Ben Stokes (0) in the 8th over, with Chahar the man doing the damage once again.

Smith was then joined in the middle by Parag, who took on MI’s bowlers with ease even as Smith looked to rotate the strike more frequently.

Parag got two boundaries early in his innings but things kicked into the next gear when he smashed Hardik Pandya for successive boundaries in the 14th over.

The 50-run partnership soon came up, as did Smith’s half-century. It didn’t help that Mumbai looked to restrict the flow of runs when wickets were the need of the hour.

The wicket finally came in the 18th over when Ben Cutting managed to run Parag out after the batsmen went for a second that was never really on.

Yet it mattered little to Smith, who smashed Hardik for a four before ending the over with a double to ease the nerves.

And although Jasprit Bumrah got rid of Ashton Turner on the first ball of the next over, MI had left it till too late as Stuart Binny and Smith comfortably got the remaining runs, the former finishing the game with a boundary on the first ball of the final over.

Earlier, MI could only put up a total of 161-5 in their quota of 20 overs after being put in to bat by the home team.

Quinton de Kock came good with the bat once again but a lack of more big knocks from the rest of the batsmen saw Mumbai unable to post a more challenging total despite being in a strong position to do so.

Rohit Sharma’s poor form continued as he was dismissed by Shreyas Gopal in the third over after giving the leggie a simple catch.

De Kock ensured the scoreboard kept ticking but Suryakumar Yadav took a more measured approach to begin with, looking for ones and twos while the South African looked for boundaries.

However, Yadav’s patient knock did not translate into a big one. An attempt to slog Stuart Binny resulted in Dhawal Kulkarni taking a simple catch in the deep.

Gopal then got the big wicket of De Kock, leaving Mumbai with two dangerous but new batsmen at the crease in Hardik Pandya and Keiron Pollard.

The two have wreaked havoc down the order before. Both got starts again but Pandya (13) was trapped by Archer whereas Pollard (10) was castled by Unadkat.

Cutting did hit a four and a six as the innings was coming to a close but it wasn’t enough in the end. ​
First Published: April 21, 2019, 5:45 AM IST

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