Hashim Amla might have irked Virat Kohli after last night. For a long time now, the super-consistent South African batsman has been breaking the mighty records set by Kohli. On Thursday, he did the same thing as he became the fastest cricketer to reach 23 ODI hundreds.
Amla smashed a magnificent hundred – 110 – to help his team to set a massive total of 343 runs against West Indies and it turned out to be enough as Imran Tahir, with a stunning 7/45, trapped the hosts in spin-web.
Tahir’s latest bowling figure happens to be the best ODI performance by a South African bowler, and he also became the fastest to 100 ODI wickets from the country.
South Africa bundled out West Indies for 204 and clinched a bonus point to top the table. The result meant the St Kitts’ encounter took all three teams in the same position as they were after the Guyana leg. Australia, South Africa, and West Indies have played four matches, won two and lost two. This makes the series even more interesting.
Often overshadowed by his teammate AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla seems ready to go down as one of one-day cricket’s greatest ever players.
The 33-year-old set up a massive win last night which catapulted South Africa to the top of the tri-series points table. The innings lifted Amla to the top of the tri-series’ run-scoring charts (225 at 56.25), and into the top seven centurions in ODI history.
Amla has taken only 132 innings to score his 23 ODI hundreds while Kohli reached that milestone in his 157th innings.
Kohli is often regarded as the benchmark for run-scoring appetites in the ODI these days, but perhaps it’s time to use Amla.
No player has ever reached 7000-run mark faster than Kohli, but the Indian batsman is only the second fastest to the 5000 and 6000-run marks, behind Hashim Amla who reached touched milestones in 101 and 123 innings respectively.
With 6429 runs to his name from 132 innings, Amla required another 521 runs in his next 28 to take the 7000-run record from Kohli. Amla already has the records for the fastest to 2000, 3000 and 4000 runs.
Against West Indies in the last match, Hashim Amla definitely enjoyed his most fluent innings of the tour so far, giving a pleasure to watch him batting with powerful pulls and silken drives. After he reached his hundred, the South African right-hander brought out a unique shot that didn’t look to be part of his arsenal before this innings.
With his confidence soaring, Amla started to walk across his stumps to a full delivery from Jerome Taylor, then bent down on one knee, and scooped it to fine leg for four. What a masterpiece! AB de Villiers has been known to pull off these innovations like that, not Amla. Perhaps, the opener has been taking some interesting lessons from his captain.