Royals vs Indians, Talking Points: Smith’s grand return and ducks galore for Turner
New skipper Steve Smith played out a perfect match for Rajasthan Royals. (BCCI Image)

As Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians by five wickets to complete a double and stay alive in the IPL 2019, we look back at a few passages of play which made headlines.

De Kock holds it together for Mumbai Indians

Quinton de Kock top-scored with his third half-century of the innings as Mumbai Indians posted a fighting 161 for 5 against Rajasthan Royals. Despite the early dismissal of skipper Rohit Sharma, de Kock continued his fine form en route to scoring his ninth IPL fifty. After three tight overs from the Royals up front, the South Africa wicketkeeper batsman took Dhawal Kulkarni on and smacked him for 19 with the help of three boundaries and a six. Dropped on 1 by Jofra Archer, with a four towards a vacant fine leg, de Kock brought up his half-century and scored 65 crucial runs before being dismissed.

Royals curb Mumbai’s dangerous lower-middle order

Time and again this season, MI have been rescued by fireworks from their lower-middle order. If Hardik Pandya didn’t get you, Kieron Pollard did. When Pollard didn’t, Krunal did. Well, on Saturday, not one batsman could provide the late burst of boundaries for MI, and the credit goes to the RR bowlers. Shreyas Gopal was reserved by Steve Smith for Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard and the two batsmen struggled to get going against him. The big shots simply did not come and all Hardik, Krunal and Pollard could contribute was a total of 35 runs between them. Deserving equal credit was Smith, who pulled off a few ace moves, making Stuart Binny open the bowling and using him judiciously. The allrounder took 1 for 19, while Unadkat and Jofra Archer gave nothing away in the death.

Archer spills three, but makes up with tidy bowling

Archer had a rather forgettable day in the field, dropping as many as three catches. He offered de Kock a reprieve on 1, and spilled Hardik twice – on 2 and 14. But despite this error, Archer bowled splendidly to prevent MI from firing away in the death overs. Giving away just eight runs in his first two overs, Archer, later returning to bowl the 18th and the 20th over, conceded 14, including five dot balls – four of which were on the trot against a struggling Ben Cutting.

Smith returns to captaincy in grand fashion

Barely an hour before the start of the match, Royals named a new captain for the remainder of the IPL, and after roughly three-and-a-half hours, new skipper Steve Smith struck a second half-century of the season to seal a win for the Royals. After rotating his bowlers splendidly to limit MI to inside 170. Smith batted sensibly to ensure Royals did not lose track of their chase. MI had removed Sanju Samson and Ben Stokes in quick succession but Smith ensured he forged a partnership and played Mumbai out of the game. He was able to do it eventually with and struck a fifty off 40 balls, remaining till the end.

Turner’s dubious IPL record

Ashton Turner has experienced perhaps the most forgettable debut in the history of IPL. Playing his second game of the season, the Australia allrounder endured his second-straight golden duck. He was out caught first-ball off R Ashwin against Kings XI Punjab and here he was dismissed LBW first ball by Jasprit Bumrah. To add to his T20 woes, it is baffling to know that including today’s game, his last four T20 scores have all read ducks. Before the IPL, Turner was dismissed for another first-ball duck in the Big Bash League against the Adelaide Strikers followed by a five-ball nought against Indian in February.