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IPL 2019: Steve Smith to leave India after RCB match on April 30

With 4 wins from 11 games, the Royals need to win all of their remaining league games to stand a chance of progressing ahead.

Steve Smith, IPL, IPL 2019
Steve Smith. (Photo: IANS)

Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith will leave the ongoing edition of the IPL after the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on April 30. The former Australia skipper will fly to Australia to join his national teammates for the preparatory camp ahead of the forthcoming World Cup, starting May 30.  Smith confirmed the news after Royals’ game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.

Smith was recently appointed the captain of the team after the Royals’ disastrous show under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane. Under Rahane, the Royals had won just a couple of times in 8 games which all but threw them out of the race for a playoff spot. Smith, who had led Rising Pune Supergiant to the IPL final a couple of years ago, began his captaincy stint with a bang, leading the team to a thumping 4-wicket win over three-time winners Mumbai Indians.

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In the following game, he tasted his first defeat as Kings XI Punjab beat the Royals by 12 runs. However, the Smith-led side bounced back in style on Thursday to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by three wickets in a thriller. Chasing 176, the Royals were staring down the barrel after a collapse saw them getting reduced to 98 for 5. However, youngster Riyan Parag and Jofra Archer starred with the bat, helping the Royals chased down the total with four balls to spare.

With 4 wins from 11 games, the Royals need to win all of their remaining league games to stand a chance of progressing ahead. In such a case, missing Smith will be a big blow.  They will have to play their final league game which is against Delhi Capitals on May 4 without Smith. Along with Smith, Royals will also miss Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in the remaining three games as the England internationals will join their national side in the training camp. The Royals have already lost the services of Jos Buttler.

“We lose a few players now. Jofra and Stokesy (Stokes) are off tonight, they go back to England now – two big holes to fill. I am here for 13 games. After the Bangalore one, I’ll be heading back. Hopefully, I can contribute and see if we can get few more wins,” said Steve Smith in the post-match presentation ceremony.

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