Hashim Amla followed his spectacular hundred with a well-constructed half century against Gujarat Lions and proved that his batting heroics are not a fluke. He now holds the orange cap and has successfully adapted to the challenges of T-20.
In Kings XI Punjab’s lineup that includes Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Marc Stoinis, and Shaun Marsh, it is interesting to see that Amla has spearheaded their batting department. Even more fascinating has been the way this Punjab opener moulded his strokeplay to suit the demands of T20.
Boundaries are a must for batsmen in T20 cricket. Shorter boundaries and limited time to create an impact mean that batsmen have to always look for the big shots from the word go. And in this edition of the IPL so far, no one has done it better than South African batsman, Hashim Amla.
Amla has belted 43 boundaries so far which includes 31 fours and 12 sixes. The next in the list is Brenden McCullum who has scored 39 boundaries courtesy of 23 fours and 16 sixes.
In terms of the number of fours scored, Amla stands second to Gambhir, who has 32 fours. The South African’s supreme technique and ability to find gaps has certainly helped him while hitting fours, and with the fielding restrictions during power play overs, Amla becomes an absolute destroyer.
Surprisingly in the list of maximum sixes, the South African batsman is tied at number five with his countryman, AB de Villiers, with 12 sixes. The table topper, McCullum, is not too far and has 16 sixes to his name.
There has been a huge improvement fo Amla in the sixes department – in T20 internationals, he has hit a six every 37.45 balls. In last year’s IPL, his six hitting percentage was too low – he cleared the ropes only four times in 119 balls. But this year, along with his natural timing, he now packs more power in shots which has resulted in the ball sailing over the ropes frequently.
The South African scored a six every 29.75 balls last year, but this year he has brought it down to 17.08, which is a phenomenal achievement. Credit to Amla’s better six hitting also goes to the team management who have given him more freedom and allowed him to play with an open mindset.
The likes of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller in the middle order allow Punjab to score heavily in the middle and death overs. However, for a long time, the team has struggled to find an opener who could score quickly at the top and compliment the big hitters in the middle order.
But this year, with Amla looking at his sublime best, it seems that finally, the search for an aggressive opener for Punjab has come to an end. The right-hander’s runs have come at a rate of 8.75 runs per over which is slightly ahead of Punjab’s overall run rate of 8.72 so far in this tournament.
In terms of strike rate as well, the former Proteas skipper is not too behind. In the list of batsmen who have faced a minimum of 150 balls in IPL 2017, McCullum leads the chart with the strike rate of 149.15; At No. 2 is Lions’ skipper Suresh Raina who has the strike rate of 146.27. Not too far behind him is the current orange cap holder, Amla, with a strike rate of 145.85.
Another interesting aspect about the KXIP opener’s batting is the manner in which he has scored these runs. A lot of talk these days is about 360-degree batting; by exploiting the entire ground, batsmen are able to score more runs and this idea has gained immense popularity due to its huge success.
Amla too has utilised the 360-degree batting technique and has scored runs all round the ground. Out of his 299 runs, 144 runs came from the off side which is almost fifty percent of his total runs.
In the shorter format of the game, batsmen generally prefer the arc between long-on and square leg for hitting runs, but Amla doesn’t follow this method. In this region, he has scored only 40.16 percent of his total runs.
Between the region from wide third man to long off, Amla has scored 132 runs which is 44.14 percent of his total runs. This certainly is a unique way of batting because most batsmen in T20 generally prefer the cow corner.
The strong off side run percent also reveals the unconventional batting technique of Amla. The veteran South African batsman is a bottom hand player and due to his strong bottom hand, he manages to drive the ball with little effort. Hence, he has scored a lot of his runs through the off side.
Watching Amla play aggressive cricket has been a surprisingly pleasant experience for fans as he has demonstrated a rare combination of classical elegance and modern batting. This batting supremo has once again proved that with a solid batting technique batsmen can master any form of cricket.