ICC World Cup: AB de Villiers blitzkrieg stuns West Indies

South African captain slams unbeaten 162 off 66 balls to consign the Windies to a 257-run defeat at Sydney

Sydney: South Africa captain AB de Villiers was laid low by illness which gave him a sleepless night before he found the perfect cure by hitting a breathtaking 162 not out in yesterday’s 257-run World Cup rout of the West Indies.

AB de Villiers in action yesterday. Pic/AFP
AB de Villiers in action yesterday. Pic/AFP

De Villiers made his runs off just 66 balls as South Africa raced to the second-highest World Cup total of 408 for five, behind only the 413 for five made by India against makeweights Bermuda in Trinidad in 2007.

It was the fastest 150 in one-day internationals and de Villiers now has the fastest fifty, hundred and 150 in ODI cricket — all coming against West Indies.

Stomach problems
“I had some stomach problems last night, I didn’t eat much and had a very rough night. But the doctor gave me an injection and I was on my way,” said de Villiers as his team recovered in emphatic style from their 130-run loss to India in Melbourne last time out.

De Villiers demolished the West Indians with eight sixes and 17 fours and was particularly savage on his counterpart Jason Holder, clouting four sixes off the pace bowler’s final over.

South Africa moved into second place in Pool B behind India on run-rate while West Indies are fourth, also on four points but behind Ireland after their net run-rate took a battering at the SCG.

“As a team it was a very important win for us tonight,” added de Villiers. “It was important for us to step up after the loss to India in Melbourne and show what we’re all about as a cricket team. After Melbourne we had a few meetings, a few good training sessions and got the boys inspired for today.”

He added: “I think the credit must go to the guys up front for setting a base. Rillee (Rossouw) inspired me and that affected how I played.”

Crushing blow
For the West Indies, the defeat was a crushing blow, coming just three days after Chris Gayle became the first man to make a World Cup double century in the win against Zimbabwe.

Holder conceded 104 runs off his 10 overs — the fifth-most expensive return in all ODI cricket — before redeeming himself to a degree by top-scoring with 56.

“I thought we did well early in the game with the ball and keeping the run-rate down but then it got away from us,” said Holder.

“If you take away his de Villiers innings it is a totally different score but we dropped chances and psychologically chasing 400 is a huge task. We have some areas we need to improve on.

“Going forward we need to take the positives and try to go in with full confidence. We are confident we can make the quarter-finals and we need to play good cricket against India (in Perth on March 6).”

Pacing it right
A breakdown of De Villiers’ fifties against West Indies yesterday:

30 balls
First 50

22 balls

12 balls

Turning point
AFTER he smashed 215 against Zimbabwe in the last match, West Indies would have pinned their hopes on Chris Gayle to chase down the mammoth 405-run target that faced them yesterday. However, Gayle’s stumps were knocked over in the second over itself by Kyle Abbott with the batsman posting just three runs from four balls. The Windies never really stood a chance after that.

Figure trigger
Number of dot balls South Africa had in the Batting Powerplay

The number of runs scored by South Africa in the last 15 overs of their innings

What a coincidence!
South Africa’s total of 408 against West Indies yesterday is coincidentally the number on the baggy green cap of the late Australian batsman Phillip Hughes’, who died in November after being hit by a bouncer at the same venue — the Sydney Cricket Ground.

At the post-match press conference, SA skipper AB de Villiers said he did think of Hughes when he walked in, but admitted he wasn’t aware about the coincidence. “What can I say? Just a memory of him, obviously. I don’t know what else to say, sorry. Loss for words,” he said.

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