Although Hashim Amla again ended on the losing side, his outstanding form in India continued when he hit 104 off just 60 balls in the Kings innings of 189/3 off their 20 overs against the Gujarat Lions in Mohali.
The Lions, though – inspired by West Indian opener Dwayne Smith’s swashbuckling 74 off 39 balls (8×4, 4×6) – reached 192/4 with two balls to spare to win by six wickets. But Amla produced a magical display of batting as he hit the ball skilfully all around the ground to bring up his ton after 59 deliveries.
In the final over of the innings, Amla smashed a six over extra-cover to bring up his second century of this IPL season. Amla scored his century off 59 balls but was dismissed off the next ball as he missed a delivery from Dhawal Kulkarni and was adjudged LBW. He made 104 runs off 60 deliveries, a knock which had eight fours and five sixes.
The South African’s half-century was a slow affair as he scored it off 35 balls. He had only hit four fours and a six for his fifty. But in the next 25 balls, he hit 54 runs.
The South African right-hander became only the third batsman after Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle in IPL history to score two hundreds in a season, following an unbeaten 104 – also in a losing cause – on April 20 against the Mumbai Indians in Indore.
The 34-year-old Amla’s form bodes well for the Proteas ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy, which starts in England with a match against Sri Lanka on June 3 at The Oval in London. Before that, South Africa will play a three-game ODI warm-up series against the English – on May 24 (in Leeds), May 27 (Southampton) and May 29 at Lord’s.
- Maksudul HAQUE, Correspondent, bdcrictime