A plethora of South Africans were in IPL action on Sunday as Hashim Amla starred with 96, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his Kings XI Punjab side from getting knocked out.
No fewer than six South Africans played in Sunday’s two matches, but all of them were on the losing sides, as there were victories for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Mumbai Indians, who beat the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils respectively.
It had significant repercussions in the IPL standings, as defeat spelled the end of Kings XI’s challenge, in what has been a disappointing campaign. It allowed the Sunrisers to take top spot as they now have eight victories out of 12, while Mumbai jumped into the top four at the expense of the Daredevils, who now have some work to do to fight for a playoff spot.
Kings XI chose to bat first against the Sunrisers as they looked to hold on to their slim hopes of playoff contention, and Amla stole the show with his 96. Sixty-eight of those runs came from boundaries. Most of them came from pure timing and elegance in typical Amla style, but three of them came from innovative ramp shots – something rarely seen before from the former Proteas Test skipper. David Miller’s cameo of 20 off nine balls lifted them to 179-4.
David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan then proceeded to do what they’ve done throughout the whole tournament – dominate the powerplay overs. The openers put on 68 inside eight overs, before Dhawan perished for 25. Warner carried on and notched up his sixth half-century this season. Never before had an IPL season had three batsmen score six or more half-centuries. Virat Kohli (7), Ajinkya Rahane (6) and Warner have now achieved that.
That laid the foundation for what was ultimately a straightforward victory thanks to some power hitting from Yuvraj Singh and Ben Cutting, for the side to move to the top.
Next up was the Delhi Daredevils – whose four overseas players were all South African – up against the Mumbai Indians, with both sides in with a realistic chance of reaching the playoffs. The Daredevils chose to field first, which they soon realised was not the right call.
That was thanks largely to the exploits of one player – Krunal Pandya, who scored a half-century off just 22 balls, before finishing on 86 off 37 balls. His partnership with Martin Guptill was devastating, as they amassed 98 off 50 balls. 23 of those came off a dreadful Imran Tahir over in the 13th. It was a night to forget for Tahir, who finished with figures of 0-59 from his allotted overs. Chris Morris did well with 2-34, but Mumbai still posted 206-4.
Quinton de Kock was the only one who really put his hand up in the chase with a 28-ball 40, as only two other batsmen reached double figures, including Morris, who scored 20 before being run out as they collapsed to 126 all out. The 80-run defeat leaves the Daredevils playoff chances in the balance.