5 of AB's most memorable knocks

2018-05-23 16:15
AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - He will go down as one of the most talented, devastating shot-makers that world cricket has ever seen. 

AB de Villiers has surprisingly called it quits on the international stage and he will not realise his life-long dream of winning a World Cup, but the tributes that poured in for him on Wednesday showed just how much he has contributed to the global game. 

He leaves with a staggering 22 Test and 25 ODI centuries to his name, while he finishes as the second-highest run scorer across all formats, with 19 864, in South African cricket history behind Jacques Kallis (25 422). 

Those numbers alone tell you that De Villiers has made many memories on the international stage, but we thought it would be a good idea to identify five of his most special innings in South African colours. 

While he was a genius across all formats, four of the knocks on this list come in Test cricket while there is one ODI performance that could never be ignored. 

1. 278* v Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, 2010 - 2nd Test

This match ended as a draw, so it can't go down as a match-winning knock from De Villiers. But, in the first innings and batting at No 5, De Villiers came to the crease with the score at 33/3 and batted for 10 hours and one minute. By the time he was done, De Villiers had scored 278* as the Proteas declared on 584/9. There was a valuable century from Jacques Kallis, but it was De Villiers who held the innings together. In doing so, De Villiers set a new record for the highest score by a South African in Test cricket, going past the 277 set previously by Graeme Smith. That record now belongs to Hashim Amla, who scored 311* against England in 2012.

2. 33 v Australia in Adelaide, 2012 - 2nd Test

This hardly seems fit to be on this list, but the nature of this innings showed that De Villiers could be dogged when he needed to be. This was the game where De Villiers and Faf du Plessis, who was on debut, combined in one of the most resilient displays of defence you are ever likely to see on a cricket field. Du Plessis was the hero, finishing on 110* to save the Test for the Proteas, but De Villiers' 33 off 220 balls, in over four hours, was so uncharacteristic and selfless. It went a long way towards saving the Test match and keeping the Proteas in the series at 0-0.

3. 169 v Australia in Perth, 2012 - 3rd Test

Having helped the Proteas draw the 2nd Test, De Villiers was back to his fluid best in the series decider in Perth. In South Africa's second innings, he hit 169 off just 184 balls (21x4, 3x6), sharing in a 149-run stand for the 4th wicket with Hashim Amla (196). It was those two contributions that got the Proteas into a position where they could win the Test match, and the series, to wrap up another victorious tour to Australia. It was a performance made even more impressive by the fact that De Villiers had been keeping wicket throughout that series. 

4. 149 v West Indies in Johannesburg, 2015 - 2nd ODI

This, quite simply, is one of the greatest innings in the history of cricket. De Villiers smashed every ODI record under the sun, blasting 149 off just 44 balls. It was the day that many realised that he was other-worldly. De Villiers launched an admittedly poor West Indies bowling attack all over the Wanderers. He brought up his half-century off 16 balls and his century off just 31 balls and he remains the fastest to those milestones in the history of ODI cricket. The 16 sixes he hit that day are also the most ever hit by a batsman in an ODI innings. The numbers aside, De Villiers lit up the cricketing universe with the quality of his shot-making. It didn't matter where the ball was bowled, De Villiers found a way to clear the ropes. When he was in that scintillating form, there was nobody better. 

5. 126* v Australia in Port Elizabeth, 2018 - 2nd Test

In De Villiers' last contribution to the South African cause, he was a massive contributing factor to a famous 3-1 series victory over Australia on home soil. De Villiers scored 427 runs at an average of 71.16 in the series, but it was his knock in Port Elizabeth that stood out. 1-0 down in the series and with their middle order starting to wobble, De Villiers showed all of his class to bat through the innings in a knock that single-handedly gave the Proteas the upper hand in the contest. De Villiers went on to score three more half-centuries in his final four knocks for the Proteas, bringing the curtain down on one of the finest careers South African cricket has ever seen. 

Pics: Getty

Read more on:    proteas  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket


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