Pune: Steven Smith blazed his way to a 54-ball 101 as Rising Pune Supergiants posted a competitive 195 for three in their Indian Premier League match against table toppers Gujarat Lions here on Friday.
Smith’s was the third century of this edition of the cash-rich league after Quinton de Kock and Virat Kohli had reached the landmark in the previous matches.
Invited to bat by Lions skipper Suresh Raina, Rising Pune Supergiants rode on opener Ajinkya Rahane’s 53 and Smith’s knock to set a challenging target of 196 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
The duo of Rahane and Smith was involved in a 113-run partnership for the second wicket in just 11 overs, after the home team lost Saurabh Tiwary with just 13 runs on the board in the third over.
While Rahane found the fence five times during his 45-ball knock, Australian captain Smith smashed the Gujarat Lions bowlers for eight boundaries and five sixes to lay the foundation for a strong total.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit 30 off 18 balls with the help of two fours and as many sixes. He added 64 runs in double quick time with Smith before Dwayne Bravo put the brakes on the third wicket stand.
Smith got to his century in 53 balls when whacked Bravo over midwicket for a four. However, the West Indian allrounder had his revenge when he clean bowled him in the next ball. Dhoni then finished off the innings with a boundary through mid-off. Barring Bravo, none of the Gujarat Lions bowlers tasted success and the other two dismissals came through run outs.