Indian Premier League 2020
Smith finds form but ABdV shines brightest
A welcome return to form for Steve Smith was overshadowed by another bit of brilliance from AB de Villiers who steered Bangalore home
18 October 2020, 07:53 AM AEST
Steve Smith smashed a half-century to snap a run of poor form for the Rajasthan Royals but a whirlwind innings from AB de Villiers led Royal Challengers Bangalore to the win.
With Bangalore needing 35 off the last two overs, de Villiers hammered three successive sixes off left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat's first three balls of the 19th. The over ended up costing 25 runs.
Chasing the Royals' 6-177, de Villiers finished on 55 not out from just 22 balls and brought up victory by hitting Jofra Archer for a big six over midwicket as Bangalore reached 3-179 with two deliveries to spare.
"We just got AB'd then didn't we," Smith said after the match.
"That was a pretty special innings on a pretty slow wicket. A different league really."
Smith said he opted to go with Unadkat over Archer for the pivotal 19th over because it presented a bigger leg-side boundary to de Villiers but the South African proved more than up to the task.
"I want to perform for the team and show the owners I'm here for a good reason," de Villiers said.
"When Unadkat was bowling, I was looking leg side but to be honest I was nervous because I knew I had to hit it well, luckily I got a few away."
Smith had dipped deep into his batting bag of tricks, producing a couple of Glenn Maxwell-esque reverse sweeps on his way to a half century.
Facing Yuzvendra Chahal in the 18th over, Smith switched his stance and reverse swept the first ball that only just fell short of being a six. It brought up a personal milestone of 1000 IPL runs for the Australian, and he reached his half-century later in the over with a much more conventional shot to the long-on boundary.
A second reverse swept boundary came later in the over against the leg-spinner as the over cost 19 runs.
Five of Smith's past six innings had resulted in scores of 6 of less, but his 57 off 36 balls against Bangalore saw him return to form.
"Nice to spend some time and get a bit of rhythm in the middle, hopefully I can keep going on from there," Smith said.
Despite his efforts with the bat, the defeat has pushed Rajasthan into a tight corner, with just six points from nine games and only five matches left.
South Africa pacer Chris Morris took 4-26 to restrict Rajasthan to 6-177 despite Smith returning to form with 57, his first decent knock since he notched back-to-back half centuries in the Royals first two games of the tournament at Sharjah.
In last night's other match, the Ricky Ponting-coached Delhi Capitals moved to the top of the IPL after Shikhar Dhawan scored his first Twenty20 century and Axar Patel blasted three sixes in the last over to beat the Chennai Super Kings by five wickets.
Marcus Stoinis contributed a solid 24 off 14 balls in another powerful middle-order cameo, while Alex Carey again took the gloves but didn't make the most of his opportunity with the bat. Carey is playing with Rishabh Pant sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Faf du Plessis had earlier top-scored with 58 for Chennai, with the total boosted by Ambati Rayudu's 45 off 25, Jadeja's 13-ball knock of 33 with four sixes and Shane Watson's 36 off 28.
Chennai hit 4-179 but Delhi chased it down with a ball to spare and now top the IPL table with 14 points after their seventh win in nine games.
Bangalore are joint second with Mumbai, who have had Nathan Coulter-Nile return to the starting line-up in place of James Pattinson, on 12 points.