IPL 2019: Steve Smith to play final match of season for Rajasthan Royals

Steve Smith will depart to join Australia's World Cup preparatory camp in Brisbane from May 3.

Steve Smith drives through the offside during his 32-ball 50 against Delhi Capitals at Sawai Mansingh Stadium.   -  IPL

Steve Smith, the captain of Rajasthan Royals, will play his final match of IPL 2019 on Tuesday at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He will join Australia's World Cup preparatory camp, which gets underway at the National Cricket Centre and Allan Border Field in Brisbane on May 3.

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The twelfth edition of Indian Premier League was the first major competitive tournament for Smith in the lead-up to the World Cup after being handed a 12-month ban for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal in March 2018. He picked up an elbow injury while playing for Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year and underwent surgery, which stopped him from playing for Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), but recovered in time for the start of IPL.

The 29-year-old accrued 319 runs in 10 innings before Tuesday's fixture, with three fifties (two of them came in winning causes) to his name. Smith had a positive impact on Rajasthan as the captain after taking over from Ajinkya Rahane eight matches into the season. Since the change in captaincy, Royals won three of its four matches, including crucial wins against Kolkata Knight Riders (away) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (home) to keep itself in contention for a playoff spot.

Smith played the entire season with a heavy strapping on his right elbow, which, by his own admission, impeded him from batting freely early in the season. His form improved as the season progressed and his diving catch to dismiss compatriot and team-mate David Warner in the Sunrisers fixture was one of the moments of a thrilling IPL season. He landed heavily on his strapped right elbow after completing the catch and was in some pain immediately, but allayed fears by saying, "All good [with my elbow], I just landed on it quite heavily, more heavily than I had landed on it previously."

Smith will make his international return for Australia when it takes on Afghanistan in its first World Cup fixture on June 1 at the Bristol County Ground.

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