Not too long ago, India and Australia were bitter rivals with the continuous turmoil between both teams -- on and off the field - during the recently-concluded Test series. India skipper Virat Kohli and Australia captain Steve Smith were in constant verbal attacks with the former even 'unfriending' the Aussies. The hostile four-match series was marked by veiled accusations of cheating and sledging by both sides. Smith even apologised for his outburst in Dharamsala, which some considered as his new ploy to win Indian fans' hearts ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Smith is captaining Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in and had a wonderful start to the season by beating Mumbai Indians in the nail-biter that went down to the wire.
The skipper was the architect of the victory. He not only made 84 from 54 balls but did what MS Dhoni could not do. Needing 13 runs in the last over and 10 in last three balls, he hit two sixes on the trot to take RPS home.
Former cricketers and fans were quick to praise the magnificent knock but the most notable tweet was by Ravichandran Ashwin, who wrote, "Steve stunning Smith."
Ashwin himself was also not too shy about getting into the verbals with the Australians during the series, so his approval really was notable.
Steve Smith's Australia teammate David Warner, who is captaining Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL season 10, also took to Twitter and showered accolades on Smith.
What can't he do. Well played @stevesmith49 ????????fantastic knock.— David Warner (@davidwarner31) April 6, 2017
Brilliant finish. Steve Smith take a bow. @RPSupergiants off to a great start.— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) April 6, 2017
Few days before IPL, Ajinkya Rahane presented Smith in a Puneri avatar. Shared by the team's official Twitter handle, with the caption: "What do you think of @stevesmith49 's new Puneri avatar? We are loving it!"
Maxwell's Kings XI Punjab teammate and India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha said he was ready to move on after finding out he'd be playing under the Aussie star.
Looks like the IPL is the balm that was needed to soothe tempers and nerves all around.