In the early part of the Kings XI Punjab innings, as Hashim Amla and Shaun Marsh were batting in the Powerplay, one of those fan poll questions popped up on the television screen: Does Hashim Amla's style of batting hinder KXIP? The majority – 67% -- of the voters said yes, with only 33%, surely the Test cricket fans, saying no.
Maybe someone, during the first of the strategic timeouts, just whispered something about that question to the great South African. And the result was the Mumbai Indians bowlers paying for it, and then some.
Amla (104 n.o., 60b, 8x4, 6x6), in his own inimitable, beautiful style, showed those naysayers just what class players are made of. When you are good, you are good in all formats, it doesn't matter if it is Test cricket, ODIs or T20s, and Amla is not just good, he is one of the modern-day greats.
After taking a while to get settled at the crease, and getting a life as well, when Nitish Rana failed to latch onto a catch at backward point, diving to his right, Amla seemed to come into his own when the Kings XI Punjab captain Glenn Maxwell joined him at the crease.
The South African-Australia duo put on a ridiculous 83 runs in five-and-a-half overs, with Maxwell (40, 18b, 4x4, 3x6) tearing into Mitchell McClenaghan in one over – which went for 28 – while Amla took a special liking to Lasith Malinga.
Now, Malinga is not the same force he was a few years back, but he still remains a terrific T20 bowler. Amla, though, seemed to read exactly what the Sri Lankan was going to bowl, and he made sure he sent those balls sailing into or over the boundary ropes.
In Malinga's third over, the 16th of the innings, Amla hit the fast bowler for six, six, four and four, with the first of those sixes going on to hit the roof.
And in the final over bowled by Malinga, Amla got those sixes out again, hitting a couple of maximums to take Kings XI Punjab to within two runs of 200. The second of those sixes, a beautiful help over fine-leg, got the South African to his hundred, his first in T20 cricket.
For a man looked at as a Test specialist, this was an innings that showed just how wonderful a player is.
Twice in two days now, two orthodox, touch players have played special innings. On Wednesday, Kane Williamson hit a brilliant 89, and on Thursday night, Amla went a little better.
"It was really nice to get some runs," Amla said after his special innings. "Maxy came and backed me up and got us some momentum. You have to take more risks, sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn't. Today it came off."