Smith sets up massive target
A magnificent Graeme Smith smashed 91 off 51 deliveries to propel the Rajasthan Royals to 211/5 in the IPL match against the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.
Smith (91, 51 balls, 9x4, 4x6) and the diminutive Swapnil Asnodkar (41, 27 balls, 5x4, 2x6) slammed 50 runs off 32 balls, and established their century-partnership for the opening wicket in 9.4 overs.
They showed scant respect for the reputation of Manpreet Gony, who had taken 13 wickets in the IPL-competition, or for Lakshmipathy Balaji, who had managed a hat-trick in the league.
Makhaya Ntini, Albie Morkel and Muttiah Muralitharan also traveled to all parts of the ground, with compliments from Smith and Asnodkar, who was run out with the score on 127 after 11.1 overs.
Smith played his customary drives through mid wicket and was equally strong square of the wicket on the off-side.
He also pulled with ferocious power as he played an innings reminiscent of that 90 off 55 balls that catapulted South Africa to that memorable 438/9-win over Australia in March 2006 at the Wanderers.
The South African captain struggled with cramps towards the latter part of his innings and departed with a tired looking shot when he was caught by MS Dhoni off Suresh Raina’s spin bowling.
But with his departure, the diminutive Kamran Akmal stepped up to the plate and scored a superb quick-fire 53, off 28 balls, with four fours and three sixes.
It was a case of nowhere to hide for the hapless attack of the Chennai Super Kings.
Morkel was the pick of the bowling attack, with 2/35 off four overs.
The Chennai Super Kings will have to win one of their two remaining league matches to enter the semi-finals. But beating the top-placed Royals would be a tough assignment.