Smith allays concussion fears with match-winning 69 for Royals

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Second T20 International - England v Australia - Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Britain - September 6, 2020 Australia's Steve Smith in action Pool via REUTERS/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - Rajasthan Royals batsman Sanju Samson said it was an “absolute pleasure” to bat with Steve Smith as the Australian showed no lingering effects from a concussion in helping his side beat Chennai in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday.

Smith, who missed Australia’s three-match ODI series against England earlier this month after he was hit on the head by a ball in the nets, struck a fluent 69 to guide the Royals to a 16-run victory over the Super Kings.

He joined the Royals camp last week but his participation in their season-opener had been in doubt until he passed a concussion test.

The 31-year-old, who opened the batting, smashed four sixes and four boundaries in a 47-ball 69. His second-wicket partnership of 121 with Samson paved the way for the Royals to post a hefty 216-7.

“Absolute pleasure to bat with him. He is the world’s best batsman,” said Samson, who was named the Man of the Match for his 32-ball 74. “When he goes out and bats 20 overs, it becomes easy for the others coming in.”

The Super Kings managed 200-6 in response.

Smith’s side face Kings XI Punjab in their next game on Sunday.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford