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20 May 2019 22:54
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  •   Home > News > International

    Steve Smith scores IPL half-century after being named captain, leads Rajasthan Royals to victory

    Former Australian captain Steve Smith is promoted to captain of the Rajasthan Royals and rises to the occasion, scoring a half-century to lead his charges to victory.


    Steve Smith was promoted to captain of the Rajasthan Royals ahead of its IPL match against the Mumbai Indians, and responded by leading his side to a five-wicket win with an unbeaten half-century in Jaipur.

    Smith remains banned from holding a leadership role with Cricket Australia for another year after his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal, but rose to the occasion with the Royals, hitting 59 runs off 48 deliveries.

    The Royals were set a target of 162 runs to win off the back of a 47-ball 65 from South African opener Quinton de Kock, however, the Indians faltered in the latter overs as Stuart Binny (1-19), Shreyas Gopal (2-21) and Jofra Archer (1-22) put the squeeze on.

    Rajasthan lost opener and disposed captain Ajinkya Rahane for a run-a-ball 12 and Englishman Ben Stokes for a duck but hung on thanks to Smiths' knock, reaching the target with five balls to spare.

    It was just the third victory of the season for the Royals, with management hoping a "fresh approach" will rescue the side's faltering season.

    "[Former captain] Ajinkya Rahane did a fantastic job in leading the team to the playoffs last year, however, the franchise now thinks a fresh approach is needed to bring their 2019 campaign back on track," a Royals statement said.

    "Management called me in yesterday and said they wanted me to captain for the rest of the season," Smith said when questioned about the change in captaincy.

    The former Australian captain had been slated to lead the Royals last season, but stepped down from the captaincy after being hit with his 12-month ban for ball tampering.

    The 29-year-old had captained the Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League before an elbow injury curtailed his involvement.

    "I was a bit surprised by [being named captain] at the time, but yeah, that's their decision.

    "I haven't quite enjoyed hiding in the field, it's not my sort of way around things. I like being in the midst of the action, around the hotspots, and get involved."

    Prior to the match against the Indians, Smith had struggled in relative terms batting at number four, scoring just 186 runs at an average of 37.20.

    However, he stepped up once elevated to the captaincy, notching his second half-century of the tournament.

    "I haven't contributed as much as I'd like through this tournament, it was nice to get off to a good start and take the boys home," Smith said in his post-match interview.

    Earlier this week Smith was named in Australia's Cricket World Cup squad, alongside David Warner, who has excelled on his return to top flight cricket in the IPL.


    ABC




    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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