New captain Smith makes fifty as Royals triumph

By Tom Webber 20 April 2019 114
New captain Smith makes fifty as Royals triumph

Steve Smith scored a fifty in his first match as captain to lead the Rajasthan Royals to a five-wicket victory over the Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Australia international Smith replaced Ajinkya Rahane as skipper after a run of two wins in eight Indian Premier League matches for the Royals, and he made 59 off 48 balls as they triumphed in Jaipur.

Smith won the toss and put the Indians in to bat but may have been regretting his decision as Quinton de Kock (65) and Suryakumar Yadav (34) built a 97-run partnership after the early loss of Rohit Sharma (5).

In his first outing since being named in the England squad for pre-Cricket World Cup ODIs against Pakistan and Ireland, Jofra Archer made a trio of drops as he endured a miserable day in the field.

Archer somewhat atoned by removing Hardik Pandya (23) in the final over, with Mumbai – who were without Jos Buttler, who returned to England to attend the birth of his first child – setting a target of 162.

Rahul Chahar's trio of wickets disrupted the Royals in the opening eight overs of the chase but Mumbai toiled as Smith and 17-year-old Riyan Parag (43) built a 70-run fourth-wicket stand.

Ben Cutting and Pandya combined brilliantly to run out Parag with 14 balls remaining, but Smith hit straight back with a four and his fifth of the match sealed the victory with five deliveries remaining.

 

ARCHER LACKING A STRING TO HIS BOW?

The first of Archer's drops came when he dived forward at long-on and failed to hold on to left-hander De Kock, who punished Dhawal Kulkarni by plundering 18 runs – including one maximum – off the next four deliveries.

Archer came in off the deep midwicket boundary and let Pandya slip through his fingers in the 17th over and spilled him again at long on in the penultimate set of six.

However, three of his four overs came at the death and he removed Pandya upon review with a blistering yorker that crashed into his front boot, finishing with figures of 1-22.

 

TURNER ROUND, ASHTON

Ashton Turner made his ODI debut in March but missed out on selection for the Cricket World Cup and the Australian's Twenty20 struggles continued against Mumbai.

The middle-order batsman was trapped lbw first ball by Jasprit Bumrah and has now failed to register a single run in his past four T20 innings.

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Tom Webber

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