Hashim Amla’s sensational 104 off 60 balls was in vain as the Kings XI Punjab lost by six wickets against the Gujarat Lions.
This was the second time this campaign that an Amla ton ended in defeat. The other was on the occasion of his first ton against the Mumbai Indians.
It was a second century of the campaign for the Proteas star, who tempered his aesthetically-pleasing drives and leg-glances with some explosive hitting that saw him finish with a strike rate of 173.33. His innings featured eight fours and fives sixes and ensured that he became only the third batsman to score two centuries in an IPL season.
His first fifty came off just 35 balls as he hit Ankit Soni for a single to long-on that also brought up the century partnership with Australia’s Sean Marsh off 69 balls.
Amla made sure that Kings XI did not lose impetus after the departure of Marsh in the 15th over. He continued his march towards three figures with some amazing shot-making that left the commentators searching for superlatives.
Beginning the over on 93, a boundary off the first ball of the last over moved his score to 97. A single followed off the second ball before Amla regained the strike for the fourth ball. The ton was brought up in style as he played an ‘inside out’ shot over cover for six. He departed the very next ball LBW to Basil Thampi to bring an end to a magnificent innings.
Amla’s knock was a shining light, from a South African point of view, this weekend. Imran Tahir returned figures of 1-33 in four overs as his Rising Pune Supergiant moved up to third on the log, with 16 points to their credit after a 12-run victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Elsewhere, Kagiso Rabada produced figures of 1-33 as his Delhi Daredevils slumped to a 146-run defeat against the table-topping Mumbai Indians, the biggest defeat in IPL history.
AB de Villiers’ struggles with the bat continued as he contributed only ten to his Royal Challengers Bangalore side’s 158-6. It ultimately proved too few, as the Kolkata Knight Riders passed the Challengers’ score with 29 balls remaining, handing last year’s finalists their tenth defeat of the season.