PUNE, India, CMC – Gujarat Lions opener Dwayne Smith says he is enjoying his partnership at the top of the order with audacious New Zealander Brendon McCullum.
The pair put on 92 yesterday as Lions chased down an imposing 196 to beat Rising Pune Supergiants by three wickets and extend their lead at the top of the Indian Premier League standings to four points.
Last Wednesday in New Delhi, Smith and McCullum posted 112 in helping Lions defeat Daredevils by a single run and three days earlier, the pair put on 47 as Lions overhauled 181 to knock over Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets.
“I always enjoy opening, especially opening with Baz (McCullum). It’s been brilliant. I think we have so much partnerships now … and I hope that we can continue doing that,” said the 33-year-old Smith, whose alliance with McCullum dates back to his stint at the now suspended Chennai Super Kings. “You can see from this match tonight. They started well but as soon as we got going I think they went back onto the back foot and it was good to see that Baz took up the mantle and took them on, and I just sat back and then had a go.”
The Barbados and West Indies player’s presence at the top of the order has been a refreshing one for the surprise IPL leaders.
He was overlooked for their first four games of the new season as Lions opted for Australian Aaron Finch, who reeled off half-centuries in his first three innings, to solidify his spot. Injury to Finch, however, opened a door for Smith and scores of 32, 53 and 63 has seen him make a strong case to selectors.
The right-hander, who has played 246 T20 games, said he was excited by the high motivation in the Lions camp.
“The guys are really up for it and we have a good coach (Brad Hodge) too as well, and some good backup staff and it’s good to see that the boys are really up for it and I hope that we can continue.”