An intriguing clash awaits on Monday night, as Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad meet in Mohali nursing their recent wounds.
Kings XI couldn’t get to grips with Chennai’s spin-friendly pitch on Saturday, while the Sunrisers were obliterated by record-breaking debutant Alzarri Joseph and Mumbai Indians.
With three victories out of five under their respective belts, a win would firmly place either side in the top half of the IPL table.
Check out our live ball-by-ball updates below:
Put to bat first, Rajasthan managed to register just 139 runs on the board, more than half of which was contributed by Smith.
The Australian made his way to the crease after Prasidh Krishna removed Rahane in the first ball of the second over. He stayed unbeaten at 73 runs and hence prevented Rajasthan from putting up an embarrassing target for Kolkata.
In the end, it was not enough as Kolkata’s opening pair of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine made short work of Rajasthan’s bowlers and provided their team a strong start in the chase.
We take a closer look at Smith’s performance:
Strike rate: 123.73
Anatomy of Smith’s innings
Despite scoring 73 runs, Smith could have done a lot better, especially with his strike rate.
A strike rate of 123.73 while playing almost 10 overs cannot be seen as something productive on – what Kolkata showed to be – a good batting surface.
The Australian started slow and took his time to adjust to the surface. He was clearly tested by Krishna’s pace and struggled to get the boundaries.
Up until the 10th over, the Australian was struggling to get his striker rate over 100 and only then did he slowly get himself into the game.
The wicket of Jos Buttler in the 12th over piled further pressure on Smith and to his credit, he did react well to it.
It wasn’t until the 15th over that the boundaries were flowing at an impressive rate for Smith and Rajasthan. It was then that he got to his half-century and did so in 44 balls.
In the last four overs, Smith and Ben Stokes managed to add just 33 runs on the board for the visitors.
Battle between Krishna and Smith
The battle between Krishna and Smith was an interesting one.
The fast bowler initially troubled the Australian with short deliveries. This continued in his second over in the same spell and Smith was yet to assert dominance on the Indian.
In his second spell, Krishna quizzed Smith with some good variations and slower deliveries, but the Australian came out on top this time and ensured that he reached his 50 in Krishna’s over after smashing two boundaries in the youngster’s third over.
This was Smith’s first 50 since August 2018 and he played a key role in preventing a huge collapse in the Rajasthan batting order.
Although, the fact that Kolkata chased the target in just 14 overs showed that Rajasthan were clearly more than 50 runs short of a competitive total.
The Australian could have raised his tempo and added those decisive runs, because a strike rate of just 123 after having faced 59 balls is underwhelming.
Rajasthan Royals failed to build on their win over Royal Challengers Bangalore and found themselves on the losing side against Kolkata Knight Riders.
It was a spectacular IPL debut for Harry Gurney, who claimed two wickets, going for just 25 runs. The Englishman believes that the pitch in Jaipur suited his off cutters.
“It was a pitch that suited my cutter options and a nice one to make my debut on. I always work hard on my slower balls and I have a couple of them. I am working on a knuckle ball but I don’t think it’ll be ready for the IPL this year. Hopefully I will use it back at home,” Gurney said.
Rajasthan captain Ajinkya Rahane admitted that his team fell short of a good total on that pitch and they will be taking this as a learning experience.
“We thought 150-160 would have been really good. Slow track, you’ve got to at least fight. We didn’t bowl to our plans. Lots of learnings,” he said.
Chris Lynn – who raced to his half-century in 32 balls – said the idea was to go hard in the powerplay overs and luckily, everything went well for his team.
“I rode my luck again. We knew we were going to go hard in the powerplay because the wicket was slow. Then it was cruise control. Sunil Narine (47 off 25 balls) was unbelieavable. He’s done it for a couple of years now. He keeps it so simple. We don’t talk a lot out there. I’ve always traditionally been slow starting in this tournament. But importantly we’ve gotten the wins,” he said.