Steven Smith (above) was dismissed for a healthy 51, while Ricky Ponting feels that it nevertheless makes Smith and his desire to “be the man” © BCCI
Steven Smith (above) was dismissed for a healthy 51, while Ricky Ponting feels that it nevertheless makes Smith and his desire to “be the man” © BCCI

Although Mumbai Indians (MI) and their skipper Rohit Sharma were left standing tall at the end of the night of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 final, following their record third title win after conquering Steven Smith-led Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday, former MI coach Ricky Ponting felt sorry for the RPS skipper. Ponting felt that Smith could have hardly done anything more to lead his team to a possible title win. Smith was dismissed for 51 in the final over, while Ponting felt that it nevertheless makes Smith and his desire to “be the man”. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) vs Mumbai Indians (MI), IPL 2017 Final at Hyderabad

“I actually feel a little bit sorry for him with the way that the final unfolded. You had him trying to win the game there at the end and … couldn’t get it done. You could just see with that final [over], it just sums Steve Smith up now. He wanted to be the man, he wanted to be in there at the end, he wanted to get his team across the line. Unfortunately for him, probably the best shot played in the whole the game [was the shot he went out on]; off Mitch Johnson, around the wicket, inside-out over cover, [he] picks out Ambati Rayudu on the deep cover boundary and the chance for his team to get across the line [was] slowly slipping away,” said Ponting, as reported by cricket.com.au.

“You could see with his reaction when he was dismissed, he knew there was an opportunity for him to create something special for his franchise. So he’d be gutted but he should be also very proud of what he’s done. To get his team, in only their second year in the tournament, into the final was just a remarkable effort. He should be very proud. He’s had a good tournament. I love the fact he was given the captaincy as well, he’s thrived and relished that opportunity,” added Ponting.

Speaking on Mitchell Johnson’s performance in the final, Ponting said, “I must admit when I saw Johnson picked for the last couple of games ahead of someone like McClenaghan, I wondered what was going on. McClenaghan and Malinga that have done exceptionally well for the last … well Malinga forever, and McClenaghan the last couple of years.”

“Once the squad was put together everyone would have felt – and Mitch Johnson himself – he was going to be behind those guys in the pecking order. [But] I’m rapt for him. To have retired from cricket when he did, got an opportunity with the Perth Scorchers, did a great job with them and was one of the major reasons they won the final this year in the BBL,” he added.

“To go back to the IPL, go back to a team where he’s tasted success before at the Mumbai Indians, to be the man who has to stand up and take that last over says a lot about his experience and skill. [There’s] no bigger stage to do that than a final. For Mitch, that’s the icing on the cake for him. To stand up like that and deliver when it matters most, win an IPL for his franchise is probably the reason the Mumbai Indians got him back this season,” he concluded.