With the South Africans returning home from the IPL as they gear up for their ODI series against England, we take a look at the best performances.
HASHIM AMLA (104* and 104) vs Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions
He’s threatened to do it before. He scored 96 for the Kings XI Punjab last season, and scored an unbeaten 97 for the Proteas against England in early-2016. Now he’s got two centuries to his name, and only Virat Kohli has done that before in the same season. The irony is that they were both in losing causes. 198 and 189 were the totals he helped his side to, but the bowlers failed to come to the party. The centuries were virtually identical. They both came off 60 balls, they both included eight fours, they were both brought up with a six, and they were both in the last over of the innings. The only differences were that Amla hit one more six (6) in his first century, and he was dismissed off the penultimate ball after his second one. Either way, it bodes very well for the Proteas ahead of the Champions Trophy.
CHRIS MORRIS (38 not out) vs Rising Pune Supergiant
Delhi Daredevils all-rounder Morris had an excellent stint with his side under the guidance of Paddy Upton, taking 12 wickets from nine matches and scoring 154 runs at an average of 30.80 at a strike rate of 163.82. He showed this promise with his 32-ball 82 last season, and he produced similar firepower with his knock of 38 against the Rising Pune Supergiant. Sanju Samson (102) hit the first century of the season, but in seven minutes of complete destruction, Morris faced nine of the last 10 balls of the innings and smacked three sixes and four fours to score 38 off nine. Who knows, if he had two more balls to face he could have scored the quickest half-century in history.
AB DE VILLIERS (89 not out) vs Kings XI Punjab
We didn’t see the best of De Villiers in this campaign. He scored 216 runs from nine matches at an average of 27. It wasn’t looking that way at first though. After missing the first two matches with a shoulder injury, De Villiers returned to action with a bang, scoring 89 of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 148. He went at a relatively gentle pace at first as he tried to rescue his side from 22-3. Then came 68 runs off the last four overs as AB unleashed, hitting seven sixes in that four-over patch to finish unbeaten on 89 off 46 balls. It was all in vain though, in what was the second defeat for the bottom-dwellers of the 10 they would go on to lose in 13 matches.
IMRAN TAHIR (3-27) vs Gujarat Lions
What a way to respond after being snubbed in the IPL auction. The world No 1 ODI and T20 bowler was released from the Delhi Daredevils, but the Rising Pune Supergiant snapped him up at base price after Mitchell Marsh was injured, and he’s shown what everyone else could have got at a bargain. He took three three-wicket hauls in the tournament, and will leave as the second-highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps. The 3-27 against the Lions wasn’t even his best figures (3-18 against RCB were), but it was undeniably his most important. He took the wickets of dangerous opener Ishan Kishan, and then Aaron Finch and Dwayne Smith off back-to-back deliveries, to restrict the side to 161 all out. Pune won the match off the last ball of the innings. Ben Stokes stole the show with his century, but Tahir’s spell set it up.
KAGISO RABADA (1-30 and 44) vs Mumbai Indians
The Daredevils must be wondering why they waited so long to hand Rabada a debut. The 21-year-old had to wait six games to make his debut, but made an instant impact, clocking speeds of 150km/h-plus taking a wicket in his second over. He would get better with the ball as the tournament wore on, but it was with the bat on his debut that raised some eyebrows. Coming in at No 7 with the side on 24-6, he struck up an 89-run stand with Chris Morris, and the pair got their side remarkably close, as Rabada was bowled in the penultimate over which ultimately left the Daredevils 14 runs short.