Smith embarrassed by Pat Cummins
Teammates with Australia, NSW and the Sydney Sixers, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins were in the rare position of playing against each other in the Indian Premier League overnight.
Smith's Rajasthan Royals and Cummins' Kolkata Knight Riders are two of the favourites for this year's T20 tournament - and their head-to-head battle at the top of the order was key after Cummins made 12 in KKR's score of 6/174.
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But viewers were left scratching their heads by a bizarre display from the Aussie batsman as Cummins bowled the second over of the innings.
The first ball Smith faced was on a good length just outside off and played sensibly enough as he defended to mid-wicket.
But the wheels fell off from that point.
Ball two saw the world's best batsman shuffle across to off and swipe at a back of a length delivery that rose and beat the outside edge.
He looked to flick the next delivery but was lucky not to be caught behind as it straightened on him.
Smith was again lucky not to be out the following ball as an ugly heave sailed just over mid-off for two runs, before he was put out of his misery by the final ball of the over.
The 31-year-old failed to connect properly after attempting another ungainly hoick and nicked the ball past leg stump and was caught by wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
I just cannot believe this, that was NOT Steve Smith. All four balls he faced by Pat Cummins, seemed like Smith was hell bent on throwing his wicket away. Makes no sense, terrible slog - almost caught on the third ball & followed it up by another slog. @stevesmith49 #KKRvsRR #RR— Sushant Mehta (@SushantNMehta) September 30, 2020
Smith trudged off having scored just three runs from seven deliveries and the Royals capitulated to finish 9/137 and suffer their first defeat of the tournament.
Asked about his long-awaited square-off with Cummins, Smith conceded it "wasn't much of a battle".
"I just spoke to him (Cummins) and he said you normally smack those in the nets (laughs)," Smith said. "I got a good one tonight."
Indian quicks Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti led the Knight Riders to an important win after the franchise had persisted with the bowling duo through injury lay-offs since 2018.
Both Mavi and Nagarkoti, who were bought by Kolkata two years ago after eye-catching performances in India's Under-19 World Cup win, claimed two wickets each in the 37-run victory in Dubai.
Mavi, 21, who played nine games for the two-time IPL winners in the 2018 season before being sidelined with injuries, returned figures of 2-20 including the prized scalp of Jos Buttler.
The 20-year-old Nagarkoti made his debut for Kolkata in their previous win against Sunrisers Hyderabad after missing more than a year due to a back injury.
"It's a very special thing - these boys, the journey they've gone through when not playing," Kolkata skipper Karthik said after his team's second successive win.
"And for them to just come out and express themselves with the ball and bat was incredible."
Kolkata, co-owned by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, kept faith in their young pacemen and facilitated their rehabilitation process.
The young pair are benefiting from the presence of Cummins - the most expensive foreign player for the 2020 season with a $3 million fee. Cummins returned figures of 1-13 in his three overs.
"A player like Cummins around is a confidence booster. He is so good with the young kids," said Karthik.
"The boys are learning a lot (from him). For all fast bowlers around the world, Cummins is an extraordinary role model."
Opener Shubman Gill top-scored with 47 and England's Eoin Morgan hit an unbeaten 34 to guide Kolkata.
Originally published as Smith embarrassed by Pat Cummins