ICC World Cup-South Africa vs West Indies
AB DE VILLIERS BLITZES RECORDS IN BIG WIN
South Africa captain blasts 52-ball ton and the quickest ODI 150 in 257-run win over the West Indies
De Villiers struck 17 fours and eight sixes in an awesome exhibition of power hitting. It didn’t matter whether the ball was full or short, on offstump or angled at his pads. Everything was just dismissed from his presence. The final over from Holder, where he struck four sixes and a four, summed up West Indies’ plight. Holder’s final two overs included six sixes and cost 64 runs. His final analysis of 1 for 104 was the most expensive ten-over spell in ICC Cricket World Cups.
By the end, it was easy to forget that Holder had given his team the perfect start, after Quinton de Kock cut one uppishly to point. Amla lacked his trademark fluency, but he and du Plessis built steadily, finding the gaps on a large outfield. Amla struck only one four, but got to his half-century with a straight six off Darren Sammy. Du Plessis, who played a couple of gorgeous cover drives, scored at a quicker tempo, but both men fell within two balls of each other as Chris Gayle’s bowling gave the West Indies a sliver of hope. Du Plessis edged one behind, and Amla was trapped in front as South Africa slipped to 146 for 3 in the 30th over.
After that, there was no joy for those in maroon. Rossouw drove and pulled with immense power, striking six fours and an astonishing upper-cut six over backward point. De Villiers watched the younger man seize the initiative and then announced himself with a flurry of strokes that left Holder with nowhere to turn. As ever, the de Villiers repertoire was vast – sixes over fine leg, square leg, midwicket (twice), long-on (twice) and extra cover, and fours all around the ground. The century stand between the two took just 60 balls, with every bowler apart from Gayle (2 for 21 from four overs) taking considerable punishment.
Rossouw edged one behind off Andre Russell, but there was no stopping de Villiers, whose 52-ball hundred was the fastest made in ODIs on Australian soil and the second quickest in World Cup history. Russell missed out a run-out chance off his own bowling when de Villiers had made 94, and there were a couple of half-chances spilled late on as bowlers and fielders alike seemed lost in the midst of the boundary-hitting mayhem. As many as five of de Villiers’s 20 ODI centuries have come against the West Indies and he now averages 76 against the Caribbean side while scoring at much faster than a run a ball. The bowlers simply had no idea how to stop him.
With the ball, it took South Africa just nine balls to stop the Gayle train in its tracks. An ambitious step away and swing at Abbott only saw the leg stump pegged back. Marlon Samuels, the other centurion against Zimbabwe, followed in Abbott’s next over, edging one to de Kock behind the stumps, leaving Dwayne Smith to make the early running.
He and Jonathan Carter added 36 before five wickets tumbled for the addition of just 11 runs. Carter’s pull of Morne Morkel was brilliantly taken by de Villiers, diving to his left at midwicket, and David Miller, at long-on, then leapt like a salmon to snaffle Smith’s heave off Tahir’s bowling. Lendl Simmons inside-edged a flipper on to his pads, but left without reviewing the leg-before decision, and Darren Sammy was expertly stumped after he overbalanced.
Holder’s 48-ball 56 was a lone note of defiance, but this was South Africa’s evening, an occasion for de Villiers and his teammates to remind everyone that the two hosts and India aren’t the only contenders to take home the big prize.