I've hit the ball better - AB

2015-01-18 22:34
AB de Villiers. (Duif du Toit, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Despite scoring the fastest hundred in the history of One-Day International cricket in South Africa's 148-run victory over the West Indies at the Wanderers on Sunday, AB de Villiers says he has timed the ball better in the past.

"Today on this kind of wicket, if you're in decent form and you swing hard, and you get a bit of luck behind you, you can do amazing things," De Villiers said after the game.

"I've hit the ball better before, believe it or not."

De Villiers was at his extravagant best as he bludgeoned his way to 104 from 31 balls to beat the previous fastest century record by five balls - held by New Zealand's Corey Anderson set in January last year also against the West Indies.

De Villiers, however, conceded his record-breaking knock would hold special significance.

"It ranks right up there with one of my best, any world record you have, you have to put it up there.

"It's very rare that I go out there looking to score at a strike rate of 200 from ball one. There are not a lot of games where that happens.

"Today I needed a lot of luck to get to where I did."

The Proteas posted the second highest total ever in ODIs with 439 for two in their 50 overs, and the West Indies could only manage 291 for seven in their reply.

Regarded as the world's best batsman, De Villiers showed exactly why he held that label with an unparalleled masterclass display of outrageous strokeplay, including 16 sixes and nine fours in an unforgettable knock at the Bullring.

De Villiers came in at three after openers Rilee Rossouw and Hashim Amla had put on the highest ever opening partnership for South Africa in the format with 247 from 235 balls for the first wicket.

The Proteas captain said it was the choice of coach Russell Domingo to send him up the order.

"Russell made a really good call to send me in at three. I wanted to send David Miller in as I felt David could do it better, but it was just my day today," De Villiers said.

"I went to speak to him about four or five times in the changeroom to ask him if he was sure he wanted me to go in next. I fully understand his thinking."

West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin said De Villiers' knock was undoubtedly the best-ever.

"It was one of the best ODI knocks in cricket history. We tried bowling wide to him, but nothing worked," Ramdin said.

De Villiers was finally out for 149 from 44 balls in his explosive 59-minute stay at the crease.

In his innings, the Proteas captain also broke the record for the fastest fifty in ODIs as he reached his half-century from 16 balls.

The previous record was held by Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya, who scored 50 off 17 balls against Pakistan, in Singapore, in 1996.

Andre Russell finally picked up De Villiers' scalp with two balls remaining in the innings.

While De Villiers stole the headlines in South Africa's innings, his feats could not have been achieved without centuries coming from openers Amla and Rossouw as they laid a platform for the massive total.

Amla ended unbeaten on 153 from 142 balls, with 14 fours in his innings while Rossouw scored his maiden ODI ton before he departed for 128 from 115 balls. The left-hander struck 11 fours and two sixes.

The curtain came down on the highest opening stand for the Proteas, when Rossouw chipped a Sulieman Benn delivery straight to Jerome Taylor to be dismissed for 128. In total, Rossouw faced 115 balls, striking 11 fours and two sixes.

The South African effort with the willow also marked the only occasion in ODIs where the first three batsmen all made centuries.

Set 440 to win, the West Indies did not stand a chance and despite contributions of 64 from 65 from Dwayne Smith and Denesh Ramdin's 55-ball knock of 57, the visitors were unable to mount a serious challenge at the highly-unlikely victory target.

Dale Steyn was the best bowler on a pitch much better-suited to batting, with a miserly 1/29 in his 10 overs.

With the win, South Africa led the five match series 2-0.

Read more on:    proteas  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket


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