Steve Smith will leave India with his pride intact even after Rising Pune Supergiant went down in a thrilling IPL final against Mumbai Indians. He tried valiantly but his 51 was not enough to secure victory for RPS, who played their final IPL and won hearts across the nation.Smith, who was appointed Pune captain, in place of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, did a fantastic job for the franchise. He took Pune to the final in the second and (also their last year) in the IPL after providing India a tough test in the four-match Test series.The 27-year-old started the summer on a high, hitting 499 in four matches at 71.28 with three hundreds.His personal form had spurred the team on to be competitive against Virat Kohli’s world number one Test team.The Smith-led Australia gave the home side a run for their money, providing them stern competition in a hard-fought series. There were numerous controversies and bad blood among the media but he led the side with finesse and made life difficult for India. However, they lost the series 2-1 after losing the last Test in Dharamsala.Smith then came into the IPL facing a tough challenge ahead of him. He had to turn the tide for a side that finished seventh last season. RPS bought Ben Stokes and big things were expected from him. The franchise lost a big player in Ravichandran Ashwin but they brought in Imran Tahir and that turned out to be a masterstroke going into the tournament.advertisementHe had to handle some big names in Dhoni, Stokes, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis and he managed to do a fabulous job. As the tournament progressed, he worked well with Dhoni — forming an integral partnership with him, that made Pune’s fortunes and turned them into a confident team.The New South Wales batsman not only had the backing of the owners, who took a brave call ahead of the tournament but also the players, who only had good words to say about their captain.On a personal note as well, Smith had a decent tournament. He has amassed 472 runs in 15 matches so far at 42.90 with three half-centuries and is fifth on the list of highest run-getters this season.BCCI PhotoSmith’s journey in the last four months has been truly memorable.He drew some criticism for his behaviour but earned the respect of cricket followers in India when he apologised for slipping up after the Dharamsala Test. On Sunday, Smith played a captain’s knock to for Pune with a gritty 51 off 49 balls but that went in vain as Mumbai defended a paltry total of 129 and won by one run. Chasing a paltry total of 130, Mumbai applied the breaks on RPS after Ajinkya Rahane and Smith struck a fifty run partnership but failed to take them to the target as Mumbai won by 1 run.Smith hit a six off Jasprit Bumrah in the penultimate over to take them closer to the target but he fell in the last over to Mitchell Johnson, failing to take his team past the line. The Australian captain will now join his national teammates to begin their campaign at the ICC Champions Trophy, with his reputation significantly enhanced.