Steven Smith - a desperate dive to get in during the finals © BCCI
Steven Smith – a desperate dive to get in during the finals © BCCI

Ricky Ponting termed Steven Smith as ‘unlucky man’ for not being able to finish the game for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the final of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 against Mumbai Indians (MI), who managed to win a last-ball thriller against RPS. This was their third IPL title in 10 years. Former Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson rose to the occasion for MI, bagging three important wickets of Ajinkya Rahane (44), Smith (51) and Manoj Tiwary (7). However, despite the defeat, Ponting considers Smith to be unlucky for his dismissal in the ultimate over, which changed the course of the game.

Talking to cricket.com.au, Ponting was quoted, “I actually feel a little bit sorry for him with the way that the final unfolded. You had him (Smith) 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 and he wanted to get his team across the line.”

Ponting further added, “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.”

Despite the defeat in the final game, RPS had a brilliant season overall. They were languishing at the bottom of the table in IPL 2016, but putting behind their poor record, the Pune side displayed great determination in IPL 2017. MS Dhoni, who led the side in 2016, was replaced by Smith as the captain. Moreover, the franchise also got in strong players such as Ben Stokes and Imran Tahir who showed great character throughout the tournament helping them a spot in the final.

“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,” Ponting continued.

“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.”