IPL 2017, GL v KXIP: Hashim Amla’s scoop is the SK Play of the Match
Gujarat Lions pushed a dagger into the hearts of the Kings XI Punjab fans by winning a match that could put the latter’s chances to qualify for the playoffs in serious jeopardy. KXIP seemed all set to win the game with ease, having scored a massive 189 runs batting first but a breath-taking knock by Dwayne Smith aided by some pathetic fielding by KXIP ensured that the Lions have something to cheer despite already being out of the playoff race.
Eventually, GL did it in reasonable comfort despite a flurry of wickets towards the end. However, the day certainly belonged to Hashim Amla, who scored his second century of the season.
KXIP were in a great position to up the run-rate. By the end of the 16th over, they were on 133 for 2 with Hashim Amla on 70 off just 48 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes. On a good batting track and a small ground, the Punjab batsmen pushed the accelerator.
Amla thumped Basil Thampi, one of the contenders for the Emerging Players of the Season, for a six over midwicket. However, that was nothing compared to the shot Amla played a couple of balls later.
Play of the match
Cricket fans associate Amla with gorgeous drives and elegant flicks and don’t expect him to play scoop shots. But he did it in this game, twice. In the fifth delivery of the 17th over, Amla played a premeditated a scoop over fine leg, shuffling way outside off-stump. Thampi followed him with a speedy delivery wide outside off-stump.
It was a low full-toss and Amla managed to change his bat angle and shot at the very last moment, playing a scoop just fine of short third man. That gorgeous shot he pulled out of the hat would have made players like Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan proud.
What was amazing was his calmness, keeping his eye on the ball right until the last moment and managing to use the bowler’s pace to direct it past the fielder at third man. Amla followed it up immediately with another four, a scythe over point, the classical shot, showing his versatility.
Amla, who reached 85 off 52 balls by the end of the 17th over managed to reach his century in the 20th over with a six, a lofted drive over cover. He was dismissed for 104 in his 60 balls, hitting a total of 8 fours and five sixes. This would be Amla’s last game this season for Punjab as he leaves for national duty.
Unfortunately, Amla’s knock proved to be in vain as Gujarat Lions chased the target down, thanks to plenty of dropped catches by Punjab and Dwayne Smith’s handsome contribution at the top for GL. Now KXIP are in a tight spot and need to win all their remaining matches to keep their playoff hopes alive.