18 January 2015
South African batsman AB de Villiers wrote his name indelibly into cricket’s history books when he produced one of ODI’s greatest innings against the West Indies at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
De Villiers hit eight fours and 10 sixes to reach his century in just 31 balls, erasing New Zealander Corey Anderson’s previous world best of 36 balls – also against the West Indies. It took the South African just 40 minutes to power to his ton. De Villiers’s lightning half-century came off 16 balls, beating the previous best set by Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan in 1996 by one delivery.
“I was on 92 when I realised it was going to be close, but I wasn’t sure how many balls Corey Anderson took to get to his hundred,” Reuters quotes De Villiers as saying at the post-match presentation. “Anyway, I wasn’t going to take my time through the 90s.”
“I got really fired up in the changing room and sort of played my knock before I even came out to bat. Aggression was the main thing for me today – I just wanted to go right from the start.”
De Villiers enabled the Castle Lager Proteas to post an imposing 439/2, their highest team total in this format – beating the unforgettable 438 for nine achieved in March 2006 against Australia at the same ground.
The Proteas scored only four runs short of the record 443 scored by Sri Lanka against the Netherlands.
His second-wicket partnership with Hashim Amla (153 not out) came at the incredible rate of 17.19 runs to the over. It was his 19th ODI century and he finished with 149 off 44 balls (nine fours and 16 sixes – that’s 132 in boundaries). His 16 sixes also equalled the world record number of hits out of the ground by India’s Rohit Sharma.
- 4-2-1-1-4-6-4-6-6-0-2-2-leg bye-1-6-6 (brings up 50) 6-4-6-1-4-1-1-0-4-4-0-6-4- 6-6 (brings up 100) 6-leg bye-6-1-6-6-4-6-6-2-2-0-OUT
The West Indies made a game reply, but they always looked outgunned in the batting department to go down by 148 runs, giving the Proteas a handy 2-0 lead in the five- match series.
De Villiers would be the first to acknowledge the contribution of openers Amla and Rilee Rossouw, who set the perfect platform with a South African record opening stand of 247 in 38.1 overs, improving on the previous best of 235 by Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs against India at Kochi in 2000.
It hardly mattered where the West Indies bowlers delivered the ball – De Villiers had simply made his mind up where he was going to hit it regardless of line or length. As an exponent of the unorthodox, he stands supreme in the modern game.
Amla made his 18th ODI century and went on to bat the full 50 overs, finishing unbeaten on 153 (142 balls, 14 fours). This was a career best, improving on his 150 against England at Southampton in 2012.
It was typical of Amla that he got on with the job in his own unassuming style as De Villiers dazzled all those watching.
Rossouw’s maiden ODI century (128) came off 115 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes.
In spite of being overshadowed by what was to follow, it was the innings of the highest significance looking ahead to the World Cup and one of great encouragement to the Proteas that they have a stand-in of this calibre for Quinton de Kock.
Three batsmen, three centuries
As the cherry on the top this was the first instance of three batsmen scoring centuries in the same limited-overs innings. The first wicket partnership was the sixth highest of all time.
The most remarkable thing about this batting performance was that there was certainly a bit in it up front for the quicker bowlers.
When the West Indies batted, the early loss of Chris Gayle put them under pressure and they lost two wickets for 63 runs in the mandatory power play overs.
In contrast to the earlier batting pyrotechnics, Dale Steyn bowled a remarkable five overs for just 11 runs and the West Indies went into the last 20 overs needing an almost impossible 250 plus for victory.
Steyn finished with the outstanding figures of 1/29, while Morne Morkel took the two wickets he needed to reach the landmark of 150.
Dwayne Smith made top score for the West Indies of 64 and, on any normal day, their total of 291/7 might have been considered competitive.
With Rossouw having ticked one box for the Proteas World Cup campaign, their strategists would also have been delighted to see Farhaan Behardien picking up a wicket and taking two very good catches.
The Proteas – and their supporters – wore pink as part of the third-annual Pink Day, an initiative partnering with Momentum, Bidvest and the PinkDrive to raise awareness and support for breast cancer.
The scoreboard as supplied by SAPA
Toss: West Indies
South Africa innings
H Amla not out 153
R Rossouw c Benn b Taylor 128 (115b, 11×4, 2×6)
AB de Villiers c Carter b Russell 149 (44b, 9×4, 16×6)
D Miller not out 0
Extras: (lb4, w4, nb1) 9
Total: (for two wickets) 439 – 50 overs
Fall of wicket: 1-247 (Rossouw 38.3 ov), 2-439 (De Villiers 49.4)
Bowling: Taylor 10-0-95-1 (1w), Holder 9-0-91-0, Benn 10-0-49-0, Russell 10-0-78-1 (2w), Sammy 4-0-26-0, Samuels 3-0-28-0, Smith 4-0-68-0 (1nb, 1w)
West Indies innings
D Smith c Duminy b Behardien 64 (65b, 9×4, 1×6)
C Gayle c Behardien b Morkel 19 (13b, 2×4, 1×6)
L Johnson lbw b Philander 1 (15b)
M Samuels c Behardien b Philander 40 (48b, 3×4, 1×6)
D Ramdin c Du Plessis b Morkel 57 (55b, 4×4, 1×6)
J Carter c sub (Parnell) b Steyn 40 (39b, 3×4, 1×6)
A Russell c Miller b Tahir 0 (1b)
D Sammy not out 25
J Holder not out 21
Extras: (b8, lb4, w10, nb2) 24
Total: (for seven wickets) 291 — 50 overs
Fall of wicket: 1-36 (Gayle 4.5ov), 2-63 (Johnson 9.5), 3-122 (Smith 21.2), 4-148 (Samuels 24.6), 5-231 (Carter 36.6), 6-232 (Russell 37.2), 7-253 (Ramdin 41.2) Bowling: Morkel 10-0-43-2 (2nb, 2w), Philander 10-0-69-2 (5w), Steyn 10-0-29-1 (2w), Duminy 4-0-39-0, Tahir 10-0-60-1 (1w), Behardien 6-0-39-1
Result: South Africa won by 148 runs.
The third ODI will be played in East London on Wednesday.
Cricket SA and SAinfo reporter