05 March 2015
Hashim Amla, fastest man to 20 ODI Centuries
Amla’s runs come in a more measured manner. With a strike rate of 89.13, his 108 ODI innings to date have featured 532 fours and just 31 sixes, making up 42.39 per cent of his runs
Consistency best sums up Hashim Amla’s career to date.
Both are blessed with an abundance of talent, carry humble demeanours and are natural leaders, but the similarities end when it comes to the way they score their runs.
Consistency best sums up Amla’s career to date.
The batsman made his Test debut in 2004, but had to wait another four years before earning his first one-day cap for the Proteas in March 2008.
Since, the top-order regular has more than made up for lost time and in 2012 was the fastest player to reach 3000 ODI runs.
In January, he became the fastest batsman to reach 5000 runs, passing the milestone in 101 innings, well ahead of Virat Kohli and Viv Richard’s previous record of 114.
Amla continued that trend at Manuka Oval on Tuesday when he plundered his 20th ODI century.
His 20th ton - a superb 159 from 128 balls - came from 108 innings, making him the fastest ever to the milestone, overtaking previous record-holder Kohli by a massive 25 innings.
Amla’s knock in Canberra was also his second in excess of 150 for the year. His first was scored against the West Indies on January 18, in a match overshadowed by partner-in-crime de Villiers’s 31-ball century.
While a typical de Villiers’ innings combines a mix of the conventional, the unorthodox and the simply unbelievable, Amla brings a sense of calmness and serenity to his batting.
His game has few weaknesses and he accumulates runs at an astonishing rate.
Amla’s 5457 ODI runs have come at an average of 55.58 – the second-highest all-time ODI average, second only to that of the Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate who has an average of 67 from 32 innings.
De Villiers is fourth on the list, with an average of 52.93.
However, Amla’s runs come in a more measured manner than that of his ODI captain. With a strike rate of 89.13, his 108 ODI innings to date have featured 532 fours and just 31 sixes, making up 42.39 per cent of his runs.
By comparison, de Villiers has a strike rate of 98.19 and has scored a mammoth 691 fours and 148 sixes in his 7676-run career.
De Villiers was full of praise for his ODI vice-captain after Tuesday’s 201-run win.
“He’s still the rock, he will always be the rock for us,” de Villiers said in his post-match interview.
“He just effortlessly plays with a lot of class and his game plans are so set, no matter what you do he always has an answer it seems.
“Hopefully that form can continue for the rest of the tournament.”
After a slow start to the World Cup, South Africa’s batsmen have shown their strength in the Proteas’ last two matches.
On Tuesday, the team became the first ever to score in excess of 400 in consecutive ODIs. The scores were not against top-ranked teams, but West Indies and Ireland are both sides in the running for quarter-finals.
Additionally, the second 400-plus score came without a major contribution from de Villiers, who scored a quick-fire 24 off nine before top-edging to backward point.
Already South Africa has five centuries for the tournament from five separate batsman.
“There’s been a lot of hundreds over the last 12 to 18 months and it’s something we’re very proud of,” de Villiers said.
“We want to keep scoring centuries. We feel it is definitely helping setting it up for the latter stages of the innings.”
Only Sri Lanka is challenging South Africa when it comes to the number of batsmen leading the run-scoring for the World Cup to date.
If the Proteas’ batsmen can continue this form through the tournament – and produce it when it is needed in the knock-out stages against the likes of Australia, India or New Zealand – they could deliver their country a long-sought after maiden trophy.
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