Steve Smith equals Sachin Tendulkar’s record in World Cup knockouts

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Steve Smith once again proved why he is called a big-match player as he top-scored for Australia in the ongoing match against England at Edgbaston on Thursday to lead the defending champions to a strong total of 223 in the second semi-final of the World Cup 2019.

Smith scored 85 off 119 balls with the help of six boundaries and waged a lone battle for his team when wickets kept falling at the other end. (Australia vs England Live Score, WC 2019 2nd Semi Final)

Smith, who made a comeback in the Australia national team in this tournament after a gap of a year following his ball-tampering ban, batted superbly throughout the innings after coming to the crease in the second over itself.

Australia were reduced to 14 for 3 in the first powerplay but that is when Smith took control of the innings and along with vice-captain Alex Carey, bailed the team out of trouble with a 103-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Smith then added 39 runs with Glenn Maxwell and 51 with tail-ender Mitchell Starc before he was run out in the 48th over while trying to scamper through for a quick single, thanks to Jos Buttler’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end.

Smith’s contribution in a low-scoring match has once again highlighted the importance of a batsman, who is often compared with India captain Virat Kohli. Both batsmen are considered the best in the business across all formats with Kohli even holding the No. 1 rank in Tests and ODIs.

Kohli though, is not even near Smith when it comes to performances in crunch games like the World Cup knockouts. While it is indeed unfair to criticise the world’s best batsman when his team has crashed out, but we also cannot ignore the sheer facts that is in front of us – in 3 50-over World Cup semi-finals, Virat Kohli has scored only 11 runs.

In the 2017 Champions Trophy final as well, chasing 339, Kohli flopped with just 5 runs. That’s 4 low scores in 4 high-pressure World Cup matches. He was captain in 2 of those.

Smith on the other hand, takes his game to another level in big matches. His 85 against England on Thursday was his fourth 50-plus score in four innings in the World Cup knockouts, drawing him level with Sachin Tendulkar’s record. The Indian batting legend managed the feat in 7 knockout games across three editions while Smith did it in four successive matches across two editions.

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