Steve Smith, Rajasthan Royals skipper, was disappointed with the death over pace bowling as pacer Ankit Rajpoot’s economy rate was a high 15 per over with Hardik Pandya firing all cylinders scoring 60 off 21 balls but praised the magnificent partnership between England all-rounder Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson against Mumbai Indians on Sunday as Rajasthan won by eight wickets.
Rajasthan Royals chased down the target of 196 with eight wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare. Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson played knocks of 107 and 54 respectively.
The duo stitched an unbeaten stand of 152 runs to take the Rajasthan Royals over the line in a must-win game as they remain in contention for a spot in playoffs. Kartik Tyagi too took a pounding as Hardik Pandya smoked him for 27 runs in the final over.
Steve Smith: Good Wicket To Bat On And Ben Stokes Was Magnificent From Onset
Steve Smith said the wicket was good for batting as the ball came nicely at the bat. The skipper said the performance was up to the mark despite poor death over bowling and hopefully they would carry the confidence in the upcoming games against Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders.
“It was a good wicket the ball coming nicely at the bat, so I thought it was very chase able. I thought we started off with good intent. Stoksey (Ben Stokes) was magnificent from the outset tonight, he took the game on and played really good cricket shots and hit the ball hard in the gaps,” said Steve Smith in the post-match press conference.
“Our performance tonight was outstanding. Our batting for sensational, Sanju, and Stokes partnership was magnificent. In earlier games, we’ve not been able to put it together and that’s what we’re crying for. Hopefully, we can carry forward this confidence into the next games,” he added.
Prior to this match, the England all-rounder hadn’t smashed a single six in IPL 2020 as he got starts but wasn’t able to capitalize on it before scoring unbeaten 107 off 60 balls which included 14 fours and 3 sixes against MI.
“He was suffering in a couple of games with a sore back but I thought his intent from ball one today was magnificent. He came out and played some really nice cricket shots and took the game on and got himself going. Once he going he was hard to stop. I’m pleased that they were able to close the game out,” said Smith.
Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson put together an unbeaten partnership of 152 runs. With this win, Rajasthan Royals has now moved to sixth place in the points table with 10 points from 5 wins in 12 matches.
Steve Smith: Disappointed With Death Over Bowling Despite Win
Despite the win, skipper Steve Smith said there were certain parameters like death over bowling and fielding which needs to be improved. Mumbai Indians Hardik Pandya playing purely as a batsman scored 60 off just 21 balls as both the 18th and 20th over went for 27 runs.
The 18th over was bowled by Ankit Rajpoot while Kartik Tyagi bowled the 20th over. Sanju Samson has 326 runs from 11 matches while Ben Stokes has 217 runs in 6 matches.
“We were a bit disappointed with our death over bowling. We dropped another catch, our fielding hasn’t been up to the mark. That dropped catch was probably a 45 runs swing in the end. Hardik just went beserk in the end,” said the skipper.
Rajasthan Royals will next lock horns with Kings XI Punjab on Friday, October 30 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.