Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith raises his bat after scoring a half-century against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on Saturday. - BCCI/IPL
Dubai - The captain scores 57, while the Karnataka batsman makes 41
Steve Smith and Robin Uthappa struck some form as the Rajasthan Royals put up a competitive score against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai on Saturday afternoon.
Smith, the Royals captain, scored 57, while Uthappa, promoted to open, came up with a good hand as the inaugural champions of the IPL posted 177-6 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
There were question marks over Smith's form following a poor run of scores but the Australian showed enterprise in his knock which came from 36 deliveries and contained six boundaries and a six. It was his third half-century of the season and the 11th of his IPL career.
Uthappa, who too had been going through a wretched time with the bat, was back at the top and the familiarity of opening helped the Karnataka batsman ease himself in.
Uthappa, who joined the Royals from the Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of this edition, scored 41 from 22 balls which was studded with seven boundaries and a six.
He and the other opener Ben Stokes laid a good platform for the Royals with a 50-run stand for the opening wicket. But they lost their way a little bit with Uthappa and Sanju Samson falling in quick succession.
Smith then stitched together a 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Jos Buttler and a stand of 46 runs for the fifth with Rahul Tewatia.
The Rajasthan Royals tweaked their batting order with Samson coming in at No.3, Smith at No.4 and Buttler at No.5.
All-rounder Chris Morris picked 3-26, while leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took two for 34.
The Royals went in the same team, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore made two changes. Gurkeerat Singh replaced Mohammed Siraj, while left arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed made his IPL debut and came in place of Shivam Dube.
Rajasthan Royals: 177-6 in 20 overs (Steve Smith 57, Robin Uthappa 41, Jos Buttler 24, Rahul Tewatia 19 not out, Chris Morris 4-26, Yuzvendra Chahal 2-34) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers (wk), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Chris Morris, Shahbaz Ahmed, Isuru Udana, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Smith (C), Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Kartik Tyagi.