Pune, April 29 (IANS) Steve Smith smashed 101 off 54 deliveries to steer Rising Pune Supergiants to an imposing 195/3 in 20 overs against Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Friday.
En route to his maiden IPL ton, the 26-year-old Australian struck eight boundaries and five sixes. He was well supported by Ajinkya Rahane (53 off 45) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Put into bat, Pune got off to a disappointing start losing opener Saurabh Tiwary (1) in the third over itself. Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina came in steaming with a diving effort to run the left-hander short of crease.
But his opening partner Rahane and incoming batsman Smith held on to not lose anymore wickets to post 48/1 after completion of powerplay.
The talented duo used their experience to best effect to sneak in with ones and twos followed by a couple of boundaries and big hits to bring up their 100-run partnership for the second wicket in the 13th over itself and help their team reach 118/1.
But the 14th over saw a twist in the game as Dwayne Bravo ran Rahane out to break the partnership and have the home side reduced to 124/2.
Smith kept on playing his natural game as he stayed on course for a superb ton in IPL.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (30 not out off 18) did what he is known for, as the right-handed batsman played a cameo in the end to power his side to a competitive total.
Bravo (1-40) was the pick of the bowlers for Gujarat.
Brief Scores: Rising Pune Supergiants 195/3 in 20 overs (Steve Smith 101, Ajinkya Rahane 53; Dwayne Bravo 1-40) vs Gujarat Lions