Amla, who is improving in this format with every game he plays, provided the impetus for South Africa to post a competitive 178/4. He was prolific during the six power-play overs – he outgunned his rival for the opening spot, Quinton de Kock, who partnered him yesterday as AB de Villiers took a rest before next week’s World T20.
De Kock blitzed a 13-ball 25 but even his amazing strike-rate of 192.30 was behind Amla’s 195.2 that saw him compile 41 off 21 balls when the field restrictions were in place.
However, when the field was set back and pace was taken off the ball with the introduction of spin and medium-pace, that was when the match became interesting. Faf du Plessis mis-timed a Shane Watson slower ball that brought Rilee Rossouw to the crease. He struggled for 21 balls – only scoring 16 runs – which slowed South Africa’s run-rate dramatically as Amla also lost his fluency during this period.
It is this stage of the game that leads the South African brains trust to believe that De Villiers is the right man to open in India. As well as Amla played – and his ultimate strike-rate of 156.45 is very impressive – it is during this middle period where the Proteas want all their batsmen to really put their foot hard down on the accelerator.
“I think it was superb,” former Proteas opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs said of Amla’s innings last night. “Hashim has certainly given the selectors something to think about.
“I would though like to see a bit of change in thinking. There were six wickets left at the close of the innings and it didn’t seem like we were going all out at the end. The best T20 players in the world have a full go at the backend of the innings and we’re still pushing the ball around.”
David Miller tried to have a “full go” as he smashed a 16-ball 30 – strike-rate 187.50 – at the backend of the South African innings, but the home side’s total was always in reach of a powerful Australian batting lineup.
And so it proved, as the visitors got over the line with four balls to spare to clinch the series and send the Proteas off to the global T20 showpiece on the subcontinent on a sour note.
After last night’s display, the bowlers also have plenty of work to do over the course of the next week with coach Charl Langeveldt in terms of adapting to conditions quicker, while the fielders have set higher standards than was on display under the lights at Newlands.
Miller’s straightforward dropped catch on the long-off boundary was particularly disappointing, while the ground fielding also lacked the required intensity.
Fortunately for South Africa, there are still nine days and two further warm-up matches left before the World T20 opener against England at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium to fine-tune their preparation, especially finalising their starting XI, and who will be best suited for the conditions. - Cape TimesHashim Amla has certainly thrown the cat among the pigeons with a T20 international career-best 97 not out.
Original source: Amla shows his class