Steven Smith carried his good form in Test cricket to that in T20, as he scored an unbeaten 84 to guide RPSG to a thrilling win over MI on Thursday.
No doubt the ICC test ranked one batsman barely broke the sweat to receive the Man of The Match award.
A full-blooded pull from Steve Smith was put down by Nitish Rana at deep square leg and then followed blistering innings of unbitten eighty-four off twenty-four balls.
However, former India captain Sourav Ganguly is impressed by Australian run-machine Steve Smith’s ability to successfully switch formats.
The last time Steve Smith batted on this ground, he scored a scarcely believable 100 in the second innings of a Test match dominated by the bowlers to win his side the game.
This time the pitch was different, but the result was the same. Another standout knock, another win for his team. Smith’s innings was a masterclass in pacing his inning, a bit patient at the start, and belligerent towards the end. This was the first win for RPS at Pune from five matches in IPL.
“He is in outstanding form at the moment. He is just a quality player and currently one of the world’s best batsmen. He showed his class by switching formats so swiftly in such a short time,” Ganguly said.
Although Rahane’s wicket stemmed the flow of runs for a while, Smith put up a 50-run partnership with Englishman Ben Stokes to take RPSG closer to their target.
It got a little close at the end, with Jasprit Bumrah bowling a tight 19th over, but with 10 runs left to win from three balls, Smith smacked Kieron Pollard for two sixes, to bring-up the win with one ball remaining.
The knock was ironic in that he made Dhoni resemble one of the latter’s several lower-order peers in one of his fabled last-over heists.
Smith was also the star batsman in the recent Border-Gavaskar Trophy, almost playing a captain’s innings in every test match game, which his side lost 1-2.
The right-hander finished as the top-scorer with 499 runs at an average of 71.28, including three centuries.