Steve Smith has been undone by a ‘magnificent’ catch in his IPL return for the Rajasthan Royals.
In a controversial match that featured the first IPL in Mankad history – a ‘low act’ deemed ‘disgraceful’ by Shane Warne – the Royals went down by 14 runs to Kings XI Punjab.
But the day after David Warner made his presence felt with a stunning knock, Smith was unable to do the same.
Smith arrived at the crease after the Mankad controversy and with plenty still to do after Jos Buttler set up the run chase.
The Australian’s right arm was heavily strapped following recent elbow surgery, and he looked understandably rusty with just three runs from his first three balls.
Smith then only managed a single from back-to-back free hits following two no balls from Ankit Rajpoot before finding his range by clubbing Sam Curran for a boundary and a six in successive deliveries.
But Curran, who was carted for 52 runs from his four overs, turned the game further in his side’s favour by dismissing Smith thanks largely to KL Rahul’s long-range running catch, described as ‘magnificent’ in commentary.
“He sprints 70 metres around the boundary rope,” former Aussie captain Michael Clarke said in commentary.
“The way Smith plays this, it’s going away from him as well. He hits hit with the spin, opens the face. He’s slicing this ball away from KL Rahul.”
The Australian was dismissed for 20 runs off 16 balls as the Royals collapsed from 1-108 to 9-170 off their 20 overs, falling short of their opponents’ 4-184.
Smith and the Royals will next come up against Warner and the Hyderabad Sunrisers in a spicy clash on Friday night AEDT.
The two batsmen’s Cricket Australia bans will come to an end this week ahead of the Cricket World Cup.
Both players were dropped by their respective IPL franchises for last year’s tournament in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.