Rajasthan Royals signed off their UAE leg campaign of IPL-7 with a nail-biting Super Over win over Kolkata Knight Riders and senior batsman Steven Smith credited the Jaipur outfit's success to fellow Australian James Faulkner's triple strike in the penultimate over.
Defending 152 for five, 'birthday boy' Faulkner (3/11 in 2 overs) produced a splendid penultimate over in which he got the wickets of Suryakumar Yadav (31), Robin Uthappa (0) and R Vinay Kumar (0) with KKR just needing 16 off the last two.
And Smith has no doubts that the 19th over of KKR's innings was the turning point of the match.
"I think that over from Faulkner turned the match in our favour. Until then, the game was pretty much in the balance, and in fact, they were probably in front," Smith said after last night's win.
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"With three wickets falling in one over, it got really tough for the new batsmen to have a go straight away. Credit to James for the way he handled himself in that situation and got us back into the game.
"Faulkner bowled beautifully; three wickets in an over changed the game completely. He is pretty excited. Hopefully, the form continues in India and we can win a few more," he said.
In the Super Over, KKR batting first scored 11 off Faulkner with Manish Pandey getting a six. In reply, Smith showed his cricketing acumen with a soft tap off the last delivery from Sunil Narine towards extra cover to get two runs that sealed the match in their favour.
"It was an exciting game and it is just great to be at the right end of it," Smith was quoted as saying in IPL's official website.
Asked what was going on in his mind while batting in the Super Over, Smith said: "I tried to keep my mind as clear as possible. I was certain of one thing – I will only hit the ball if it is in my area, otherwise, I'll just run a couple and that's it.
"I had decided that no matter what happens, I will not force a big shot where it is not there. I just got a double and a single and gave the strike to Watto (Shane Watson), who I knew will surely launch one, as he did. He got one boundary away and that really set the over up."