IPL 2019: Top 3 knocks by Steve Smith in the history of IPL
New South Wales-born Steve Smith has an excellent record in the IPL. Pune Warriors India, Rajasthan Royals and Rising Pune Supergiants are the franchises he has represented in his IPL career.
Overall, in the 69 matches that the 29-year-old has played, Smith has amassed a total of 1703 runs at a strike rate of 131.71 and a brilliant average of 37.02.
The Aussie player is currently with the Rajasthan Royals, and has been retained ahead of the 2019 season for a sum reported to be ₹12 crore.
He will be returning to the IPL after a gap of one year due to the ban slapped by Cricket Australia in the wake of the ball-tampering incident. But despite being out of action for so long, Smith is still the 4th best Test batsman in the world according to the ICC Rankings.
The enigmatic player will be looking to put his past behind him and return to the IPL with a bang. Smith may also return to the national team midway through the ODI series against Pakistan - which is scheduled from 22nd to 31 March.
If that is the case, he might have to miss out on a few of the initial matches of IPL 2019.
Rajasthan Royals had made it to the playoffs in 2018 despite not having a player like Smith in their ranks. The team will be optimistic about his impending return to the side as it further bolsters their line up.
The stylish batsman is currently nursing an elbow injury. However, he attended Sydney Sixers' final training session ahead of the BBL semi-final against Melbourne Renegades, so there is hope that he might be able to play in the IPL.
With just 6 weeks left for him to serve his ban, let us take a look at the top 3 memorable knocks that Smith has played in his entire IPL career.
3. 79* (53) for Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 2015
The 2015 IPL season was not the most memorable for Smith as he amassed just 293 runs in 14 matches at an average of 26.63. However, there is one knock in particular from 2015 that his fans cherish a lot.
The Royals had got off to a solid start that season, winning their first two games against Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. Smith, however, was yet to make a significant impact in any game.
The 3rd match they played was against the Mumbai Indians. It was important for the Rajasthan-based franchise to keep the momentum going, but Mumbai Indians had set up a competitive total of 164 in 20 overs after choosing to bat first.
Sanju Samson departed early and in came Smith, aiming to steady the ship. He played well for his 79 and remained unbeaten through the innings to ensure a win for his team, as RR chased down the total in 19.1 overs.
Smith made his runs in just 53 deliveries and timed the innings to perfection. He hit 8 fours and a six in the knock and had a commendable strike rate of 149.05.
The 29-year-old took calculated risks when he had to; he smashed 3 fours to get 15 runs from the 17th over, bowled by Lasith Malinga, which really eased the pressure on the team.
Smith was awarded the Man of the Match for his sublime performance with the bat.