Kings XI Punjab opener Hashim Amla played a wonderful innings, but fell short of the magical three-figure mark by four runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad at PCA Stadium in Mohali on Sunday. His 56-ball 96 comprised 14 fours and two sixes.
The batsman got out in the final over of the first innings as he failed to time the ball and was caught in the deep for 96 runs. However, Amla's innings helped the home team score 179 runs in their allotted 20 overs.
The South African was in a dangerous mood right from the outset, scoring runs in boundaries. Even the likes of Ashish Nehra could not stop the right-hander from playing his wristy shots. David Warner, SRH skipper, even had a sweeper in the boundary after the batsman began to score runs freely in the off-side, but Amla's class was too much for the SRH bowlers to deal with as he continued to hit fours at will.
Though KXIP lost their first wicket of Murali Vijay in the fifth over, Amla was not perturbed as he was playing those exquisite shots in the offside, splitting the gaps with precision. It was an innings, where he was rarely troubled by the SRH bowlers.
Amla was timing the ball extremely well, also ran well between the wickets. The South African cut loose in the 16th over, and took the attack further, scoring runs easily. The right-hander hit some brilliant fours in the bowling of Mustafizur Rahman and Moises Henriques.
A century was on the cards for Amla, who was on 94 after the completion of the 18th over. However, a brilliant penultimate over by Rahman saw Amla only score two runs, and was later dismissed in the 20th over for 96 runs. Amla was unfortunate to miss out on a hundred after such a special innings.
Had Amla completed the century, he would have joined the 100-run club of IPL 2016, which comprise AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli. In fact, Kohli has scored three centuries in IPL 2016.