South Africa batsman Hashim Amla’s maiden century in the Indian Premier League was the only silver lining in Kings XI Punjab’s embarrassing eight-wicket defeat to Mumbai Indians on Thursday. Amla scored 104 off just 60 balls to take his team to a formidable 198/4 in 20 overs, but the Mumbai Indians managed to chase it with more than four overs to spare.
The defeat was Punjab’s fourth straight one after their two opening wins. They now lie fifth in the table with four points from six games, but are four points behind fourth-placed Delhi Daredevils, who have played a game less.
Addressing the media after the match, Amla said that his team still has a chance of making it to the play-offs. “Of course, there is a chance,” he said. “Every team is within a chance of getting into the playoffs. We’re only halfway through the competition, so if we get on a good roll and get consecutive victories, a bit of momentum, you never know what could happen.”
Punjab have eight matches left in the round-robin stage of the league, and Amla said they would have to win nearly all of them to qualify. “I’m not sure what the equation is, but nevertheless we’ve got to play as attacking as we can,” he said. “I hope we get some victories before we fall too far behind.”
Punjab would have to reassess both their batting and bowling ahead of their next match against fellow strugglers Gujarat Lions on Sunday, Amla said. “It’s never nice to lose consecutive matches like we have, so hopefully we can go to the next venue and manage to get a victory,” he said. “We have to reassess as a batting and bowling unit, try and get better.”
According to Amla, Punjab lost the match on Thursday when Mumbai put on 82 runs in the Powerplay overs. “I think Mumbai played exceptionally well,” he said. “You see the way they batted, they came out all guns blazing and managed to score a lot of runs in the Powerplay. I think that was a crucial factor in them getting through as comfortably as they did.”
On his own form, Amla said he was “really glad to get some runs” after scores of 25, 19 and 0 in the three previous games. “It’s a good wicket to bat on as we saw, it’s a smallish field [in Indore], so I’m really glad to get some runs on the board,” he said. “When you’re batting, most of the times you’ve got to do what the team needs. But when it comes to a good track like this, in certain stages of the game you’ve got to swing from the hip as they say and hopefully make a connection. On a smallish ground like this, you get good value for your shots.”