Rajasthan Royals' Steve Smith plays a shot during the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on March 25, 2019. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE
Rajasthan Royals' Steve Smith plays a shot during the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on March 25, 2019. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE

Rusty Steve Smith makes IPL return

Steve Smith made a modest return to the Indian Premier League, scoring 20 for his side Rajasthan Royals as they lost to Kings XI Punjab by 14 runs.

Smith, who along with compatriot David Warner made his return to the IPL after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, walked out into a charged field of play.

The former Australia captain took time to settle down before hitting England paceman Sam Curran for a four and six in one over.

Curran, who took two wickets, got his revenge in his very next over as he sent Smith trudging back to the pavilion with KL Rahul taking a sharp catch while running to his left from long-on.

Big-hitting Chris Gayle smashed 79 off 47 deliveries to steer Kings XI to 184 for four, a total they defended by restricting Royals to 170 for 9 in the Twenty20 tournament at Jaipur.

The match though was marred by Jos Buttler's run out when spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took the bails off at the non-striker's end while the batsman was backing up.

The dismissal widely known as 'mankading' is considered to be against cricket's spirit of fair play and England's Buttler, who scored 69 off 43 deliveries, walked dejectedly back to the pavilion after an argument with Ashwin.

On Sunday, Warner enjoyed a run-filled comeback to the world's most popular T20 league, scoring 85 off 53 balls for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who also lost their opening match.

Bans from state and international cricket for Smith and Warner end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.

The suspension did not include club games but IPL's governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.

The pair were banned for cheating in a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.