Indian Premier League 2020
Smith continues IPL struggles as Ponting's Delhi go top
Australia batsman falls cheaply as his Rajasthan side are beaten by the Delhi Capitals who now top the IPL table
15 October 2020, 06:48 AM AEST
Steve Smith's form slump has continued in the IPL as his Rajasthan Royals side slumped to a 13-run defeat to the Ricky Ponting coached Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League.
Smith offered a soft return catch to Ravi Ashwin to depart for just one off four balls as the Royals then suffered a batting collapse that saw them fall 13 runs short of Delhi's 7-161 for a winning margin of 13 runs.
It continued the former Australian captain's individual slump as he has now failed to get into double figures in five of his past six innings at the T20 tournament as the three venues in rotation increasingly play slow and low as the competition enters its second half.
Those past half-dozen innings, after Smith had begun the campaign with a couple of bright half-centuries, have seen him score 3, 5, 6, 24, 5 and now one.
The captain's lack of runs has come hand in hand with his team's slide out of the playoff spots and now sit second last on the ladder, having won just three of their eight matches and just one of their past six.
"We are not in a great position, are we? We have got to quickly move on and come back with a big game in three days' time," Smith conceded.
"On a slow wicket it is difficult to make up runs in the end. Guys kept getting in and kept getting out, and not making 60-odd to see us through."
Delhi were thankful to the pace of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada to seal Wednesday's win.
Nortje (2-33) claimed the key wickets of Robin Uthappa (32) and Jos Buttler (22) and together with Rabada (1-28) tied down hard-hitting Rahul Tewatia in the end to restrict Rajasthan.
Delhi had earlier scored 7-161 on the back of Shikhar Dhawan's second successive half-century as the left-handed opener scored 57 and captain Shreyas Iyer added 53.
Australians Marcus Stoinis (18) and Alex Carey (14), playing his second game of the tournament while Rishabh Pant recovers from an injury, made useful late contributions with the bat.
In a game dominated by pace bowlers, Jofra Archer was again outstanding, having clean bowled Prithvi Shaw off the first ball of the match and finished with figures of 3-19.
English duo Buttler and the returning Ben Stokes (41) provided a rollicking start for Rajasthan by smashing 37 runs in the first three overs.
Stokes, playing in only his second game this season, hit six fours before he was outdone by seamer Tushar Deshpande's slow delivery and holed out in the deep midway through the Rajasthan run-chase.
Delhi now sit on top of the table with 12 points after winning six of their eight games.