South Africa captain AB de Villiers lavished praise on Hashim Amla after the opener’s 25th ODI ton fashioned a convincing 96-run win over Sri Lanka in their ICC Champions Trophy opener on Saturday. Amla became the fastest batsmen in the world to 25 ODI tons. He reached there in 151 innings, much faster than Virat Kohli’s 162 innings. AB also lauded his spinner Imran Tahir who changed the game with his spell of 4/28.
“It’s scary, the amount of runs Hashim has piled on in his short career, hopefully many more to come. It was a difficult situation (to bring in Tahir late), it was just a feeling I got, there was no set plan. A little breeze, I had a little chat with him, and I just had a good feeling, when I brought him on,” said AB.
As far as the wicket was concerned, AB felt it wasn’t as true as the one used for England-Bangladesh match.
“It wasn’t as true a wicket as the England-Bangladesh game. It was possible for them to chase it down, but we needed a few early wickets, which we got. It was important to assess in the first 10-15 overs. They bowled exceptionally well, and credit to our openers for seeing it out,” he added.
Tahir was a happy man after the match-winning performance and said, “Been working really hard. Really enjoying. Hope it carries on through the tournament. I think [AB] knew the situation, I was always ready to bowl. The openers batted really well, but we stuck to our plans and came back strongly. I wasn’t expecting any spin, watching the England-Bangladesh game the other day, but it helped my variations a little. Very happy with how it came out today. I’ve had a tough last one week, thanks for all the people who supported me.”
Sri Lanka skipper Upul Tharanga, after the disappointing result, lauded the bowlers but felt the batting let them down.
“At the start we bowled well, even after the Hashim-Faf partnership, we came back well. Keeping them under 300 was a good effort. We couldn’t get any wicket in the middle period. We had Lakshan Sandakan – we could include him in the next game. We play against India next, we have to come back strongly, especially the batting – we have to get those big scores. Today I felt we played some loose shots,” said Tharanga.