Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in absence of Steven Smith    AFP
Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in absence of Steven Smith AFP

Steven Smith was rested due to stomach illness for Match 9 between Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. Smith, who replaced MS Dhoni at the helm, had scored an unbeaten 84 in their opening game, against Mumbai Indians (MI). This comes as a major blow for RPS, for Smith is the second highest run-scorer of the ongoing 10th edition. RPS have so far won one out of two games in IPL 10. Opener Ajinkya Rahane will call the shots in Smith’s absence. This is somewhat ironic, for Rahane had stood in for Virat Kohli in the Dharamsala Test last month, and had led India to a win over Australia, who were led by Smith. Full Cricket Scorecard, Rising Pune Supergiant vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2017, Match 9

“Smith is not well and I had to step in. It is an opportunity for the boys and hopefully we will do well. Stomach bug keeps Smith out,” said Rahane at the toss. Come to think of it, Australia’s Matt Renshaw had suffered from stomach bug in the series opener at Pune a couple of months ago. Renshaw had run off the field due to illness when Smith was coming in to bat. It seems that same fate has befallen on Smith.

In other news, Manoj Tiwary flew back home, as he lost his father this morning. Faf du Plessis will play his first match in 2017. Dan Christian, after an ordinary show in the previous match, made way for leg-spinner Adam Zampa. For Delhi Daredevils, Corey Anderson replaced Carlos Brathwaite.

RPS have elected to bowl. “The wicket looks really good. There was dew in the last game we played here and hence the decision to field,” added Rahane.