Cricinfo: Indian Premier League 2008
Cricinfo



49th match: Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals at Chennai, May 24, 2008

Smith leads run feast against Chennai

Graeme Smith

Despite being assured a semi-final spot, the Rajasthan Royals went about tearing through the Chennai Super Kings attack as if they were fighting off relegation. And Graeme Smith led the proceedings with a 51-ball 91 and a stunning 127-run opening-wicket stand with Swapnil Asnodkar.

Smith hit cleanly through the line of the ball, freeing his arms to crash boundaries through the off side or pull over midwicket. He then cut and flicked Albie Morkel for fours. To make matters worse for Chennai, the hard pitch favoured the batsmen in more ways than one: when Smith played one off Makhaya Ntini hard into the turf, it bounced so high over the fielder at point that Ntini could only smile in resignation. The first six overs produced nine fours and two sixes, and with the total reading 67, Rajasthan were on their way.

Muttiah Muralitharan was brought into the attack in the seventh, but he couldn't stop the bleeding either, as Smith lofted him over wide mid-on, and then slog-swept a mighty six. L Balaji was even more profligate, with Smith and Asnodkar creaming 20 in his second over. Of the first 12 overs, ten produced ten or more runs, as Rajasthan put together their third century stand for the first wicket.

With this innings, Smith went past 400 runs in the tournament and became Rajasthan's leading run-scorer - with 64 more than second-place Shane Watson. The two also feature on the top of the averages list of batsmen who have played 10 or more matches - with 52, Smith is 6.66 runs behind Watson at No. 1. With at least three more matches to go, Smith could easily beat Watson in this as well.


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