Steve Smith’s magnificent summer has rolled into the Indian Premier League season, with the in-form batsman smashing an unbeaten 79 to steer Rajasthan Royals to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians.
Man of the match Smith took particular liking to star Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga, blasting six of his eight fours off one of the world’s premier short-form pacemen as the unbeaten Royals reached the winning target of 3-165 with five balls to spare.
He would’ve held some concern for his Australian teammate Aaron Finch whose tournament may already be over, with the Mumbai opener forced from the field with what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury.
Smith’s chanceless 53-ball knock, which was well supported by opener Ajinka Rahane’s 46, had all the hallmarks of his golden summer which has seen him rise up the rankings of world cricket.
“It is my job to score runs and it was nice to contribute and get the win,” Smith said.
“It is nice to be in great form at the moment.”
Finch (10, retired hurt) has been searching for form after a checkered summer, and looked to have turned a corner as he smashed two early boundaries before taking off for a quick single.
But the 28-year-old pulled up sharply and clutched at his left hamstring after stretching for the crease.
Finch spent time on the ground grimacing while being attended to by team staff, before being helped from the field.
Without him, the heavy lifting was left to Kieron Pollard’s explosive 34-ball 70 and Corey Anderson’s 50 as Mumbai posted 5-164.
Finch’s injury prompted a sympathic tweet from Australian teammate, and good friend, Glenn Maxwell.
“Feeling for my mate @AaronFinch5 right now! Just as he was starting to look comfortable at the crease again. Have a speedy recovery mate!” Maxwell said.