IPL 2019, RR vs KKR: Steve Smith hits first half-century of the season

Steve Smith announced his return to form with a half-century — his first in this edition of the Indian Premier League — against the Kolkata Knight Riders, helping the Rajasthan Royals to a competitive total.

Steve Smith anchored Royals' innings with an unbeaten 59-ball 73.   -  IPL

One year ago, Australia batsman Steve Smith was in the news for the ball-tampering fiasco in Cape Town. He had to serve a one-year sanction imposed by Cricket Australia along with compatriots David Warner and Cameron Bancroft. Smith, whose ban ended on March 28, was eligible for the final two matches of Australia's five-match one-day international series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. But the right-hander was not picked with chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns, noting that " the best pathway for them (Warner and Smith) to return to play is in the Indian Premier League."

On Sunday, Smith anchored Rajasthan Royals to 139/3 with his first T20 half-century since August 2018. The former Australian captain, who had a short stint in the Bangladesh Premier League, before an elbow injury cut short is sojourn, took the field in Rajasthan Royals' fifth Indian Premier League game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.

Smith, playing for Rajasthan Royals after three years, hit seven boundaries and a six during his 59-ball 73.

READ| Ashwin 'mankads' Buttler, controversy erupts

He brought up his fifty with a boundary off Prasidh Krishna in the 15th over of the innings. But a maximum over mid-wicket off Sunil Narine's bowling stood out. Narine bowled a length ball on the middle stump line, which was dismissed into the orbit by Smith.