Dwayne Smith hails RCB for their exceptional performance this season
On a pitch where batsmen were finding to get their timing extremely tough, Dwayne Smith played a brilliant innings to help Gujarat Lions post a respectable total in the first qualifier against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Walking in at 3-9, Smith scored 73 from 40 balls to give the Lions’ bowlers a score they could defend.
However, his brilliant effort was overshadowed by AB de Villiers’ match winning knock of 79.
After reducing RCB to 29 for 5 inside six overs Gujarat Lions were looking like the favourites to book their place in the final but then ABD’s match-winning unbeaten 79 rescued RCB from the jaws of defeat.
Watching the South African ace de Villiers tame the Lions’ bowlers an awestruck Smith admitted, “I think when AB got really going and with him still at the crease, the game was in their hands. But we knew we still had a little chance. We really wanted to get him out but he batted really well.”
Gujarat Lions will now play against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second qualifier and Smith is confident that they can make it to the final in the second attempt.
“Hats off to them (RCB) but we too still have a chance. We are going fight in Delhi and come back here for the final,” he added.
Smith felt the light drizzle during the powerplay made the pitch favourable for RCB batsmen.
“I think after a little sprinkle from the rain, the pitch got in their favour. We too started really well with the ball and it’s just one of those days and can’t really do much,” said the West Indian all-rounder.
Defending 158, Kulkarni bowled superbly as he ran riot through the RCB top order . It took Kulkarni only two balls to dismiss in-form Virat Kohli. In his next over, he comprehensively bowled Chris Gayle and then got KL Rahul to edge his out-swinger to slip, first ball. Kulkarni had a fourth wicket when Sachin Baby spooned an easy catch to cover. Bowling his full quota out to open the innings, Kulkarni finished with new career-best 4-14.
“For me, all I can say that he bowled well. We were looking for wickets and we had to get wickets. I think the captain did the right thing. And the other bowlers tried as well,” he said. On their journey in the maiden season, a proud Smith explained, “I think we’ve done very well so far for a team that has come new to the tournament. We gel together and are like one family.
The guys have done an excellent job to get here. Some teams didn’t even come so far as we have. We have done well so far and I think we can do better to get back here for the final.”
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