Steve Smith has made an impressive return at the  Global T20 in Canada. Picture: Fred Thornhill
Steve Smith has made an impressive return at the Global T20 in Canada. Picture: Fred Thornhill

Touching act as Smith sizzles in comeback

FORMER Australia captain Steve Smith enjoyed a roller-coaster return to competitive cricket on Friday (AEST) as he took to the field in a T20 match in Canada.

Smith is serving a 12-month ban from international matches and domestic fixtures in Australia for his part in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa but has been allowed to turn out for the Toronto Nationals, who opened the Global T20 Canada League against the Vancouver Knights.

Smith's comeback to the crease was put on ice when his side won the toss and bowled first at the Maple Leaf Cricket Ground.

West Indies star Chris Gayle opened the batting for Vancouver and raced to 17 before giving Smith a chance to get involved in the action.

The NSW product snaffled a smart catch when the ex-Windies skipper holed out to him at long-off.

However, Smith's fortunes in the field took a sour turn when he dropped a simple chance while fielding in the same position.

Evin Lewis led the charge for the Knights as they amassed a sizeable total of 4-227 from their 20 overs. He belted 96 off just 55 balls, including five fours and 10 sixes on the small ground.

T20 gun-for-hire Andre Russell then finished the innings off in style, blasting six sixes and three fours en route to an unbeaten 54 from just 20 deliveries.

Kiwi seamer Tim Southee bowled Nizakat Khan in the first over of Toronto's innings, bringing Smith to the crease.

Steve Smith didn’t take long to get into his groove.
Steve Smith didn’t take long to get into his groove.

He played and missed at his first ball before getting off the mark with a cover drive for four.

After a couple of streaky boundaries early in his innings, Smith survived an appeal for a run-out before finding his groove.

He was content to give the strike to Johnson Charles, who looked in fine form before departing for 30 off 12 balls.

Smith struggled to find the middle of the bat when facing former Victorian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed early in his spell but managed to hammer him over mid-wicket for six on his way to 42 from 31 balls.

Toronto stood at 2-122 after 11 overs, before Smith smashed crashed consecutive fours and raised his bat for his half-century off his 34th ball.

A few deliveries later the 29-year-old showed he had the finesse to match his power, backing away and gliding a short ball between the wicketkeeper and short third man to send it speeding to the rope.

He repeated the dose later in the over but his  knock came an end when he was outsmarted by Ahmed.

Smith danced down the pitch but was stumped after Ahmed's leg break spun missed the outside edge of the bat.

 The former Aussie skipper finished with 61 off 41 balls, including one six and eight fours.

In a touching gesture that showed how far he's come in regaining the respect of the cricket world, Smith received a standing ovation as he walked back to the dressing room.

His dismissal left Toronto at 3-151 after 13.3 overs as Kieron Pollard joined Anton Devcich in the middle. Pollard didn't last long, out for four, but Devcich picked up the slack and moved to 92 off 44 balls as Toronto required four runs to win from the final over.

Darren Sammy didn't need the entire over, belting a six down the ground to get the Nationals home by six wickets.