Steve Smith’s IPL batting woes have continued with his Rising Pune Supergiants side slipping to a 13-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The Australian captain lasted just three balls before being run out for four following some sharp work by Virat Kohli.
Smith, who has scored just 51 runs in four innings, was stranded down the pitch after attempting a run following an unsuccessful leg-before appeal from Harshal Patel, with Kohli breaking the stumps from backward point with a direct hit.
MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to field only for Kohli and AB de Villiers to flay the home attack with two fantastic knocks to help RCB chalk up an imposing total of 3-185.
In-form Kohli cracked 80 from 63 balls, to move above David Warner at the top of the batting charts, but he largely played second fiddle to de Villers who bludgeoned four sixes and six fours in a blistering 83 from only 46 deliveries.
Thisara Perera finished with figures of 3-43 from him four overs.
RPS’ response got off to a disastrous start when Faf du Plessis departed for just two and Kevin Pietersen retired hurt with a calf injury having faced just one ball.
Smith’s dismissal saw the hosts slip to 2-18 but with three batsmen back in the pavilion it required Dhoni and opener Ajinkya Rahane to rebuild the innings with a 91-run stand.
Rahane fell for 60 when he was stumped for by Lokesh Rahul off the bowling of Trabaiz Shamsi and the crucial wicket of Dhoni was taken by Patel for 41 reducing the home side to 4-120 with four overs remaining.
However, a quickfire 34 from just 13 balls by Perera and 21 from 11 by Rajat Bhatia gave RPS a sniff of victory.
But former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson held his nerve with a brilliant penultimate over, snaring Perera and Ravichandran Ashwin in as many balls to snuff out any threat of defeat.
New Zealand star Kane Richardson did likewise in the final over as Dhoni’s side completed their innings on 8-172.