IPL

New captain Smith makes fifty as Royals triumph

By Sports Desk April 20, 2019

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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    Many predicted England's hopes would hinge largely on the performance of captain Root, whose stand with Denly had given the hosts a fighting chance in the first place. But Root will have been kicking himself after an ill-advised charge on Nathan Lyon looped off his pad, over wicketkeeper Tim Paine and drew a stunning catch on the dive to his left from David Warner. Having added just two to his overnight score, England were at 159-4.

    STOKES AND BAIRSTOW CHIP AWAY

    That was the only damage done to England's scoreboard in the morning session as Stokes and Jonny Bairstow sought about chipping away at the target. It took Stokes 83 balls to reach double figures, while his partner scored slightly quicker. It was a crucial partnership for England.

    BAIRSTOW DISMISSAL TRIGGERS COLLAPSE

    Stokes and Bairstow led England to 238-4 by lunch, but things unravelled in the afternoon session. Bairstow's poor waft at Josh Hazlewood's delivery, which was moving away, was pouched gleefully by Marnus Labuschagne in the slips. A horror miscommunication between Stokes and Jos Buttler saw the latter run out for just one, and Chris Woakes (1) and Stuart Broad (0) went cheaply either side of an entertaining 15 from Jofra Archer. Enter Jack Leach.

    STOKES SWINGS FOR THE FENCES

    At 286-9, Stokes decided the time was right to start swinging the bat and boy did he do so. Lyon was given the treatment – including a remarkable reverse sweep over the ropes – while Hazlewood was whacked for six off back-to-back balls. Stokes' brilliance had dramatically brought England back into the match, but there were a few more nervy moments along the way…

    WICKET REPRIEVES

    Every great story needs some peaks and troughs, and so it was for England. Had Marcus Harris clung onto an undercooked Stokes slog at third man, or Lyon not missed a simple-looking run-out with Leach well out of his crease, then the course of history would have been markedly different. There was more bad news for Lyon when video technology showed he had Stokes pinned lbw not long after, but the decision was not given on the field and Australia had already burned their reviews. It was a huge moment for England.

    STOKES SEALS IT IN STYLE

    That failed appeal still left Leach on strike and England needing two to win and one to draw. The number 11's gutsy resistance returned a single run with a jab past short leg off Pat Cummins, which brought Stokes back to the fore. Headingley waited with bated breath and Stokes smacked one through the covers before throwing his arms wide and roaring in sheer jubilation at the miracle he had just orchestrated.

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