Cape Town - Ticket-demands for Wednesday’s third and deciding T20 international between South Africa and Sri Lanka have reached fever pitch following the news that AB de Villiers is ready to play in the game at Newlands.
De Villiers convinced the selectors of his form and fitness when he crunched an unbeaten 134 off 103 balls for Northerns against Easterns in a CSA one-day provincial game on Sunday after a hiatus of close to six months due to an elbow injury.
Mark Charlton, the Northerns coach, said De Villiers showed restraint at the start of his innings.
Once he settled, he displayed the full array of his attacking repertoire, playing sweep shots, reverse sweeps, lap shots and classical cover drives.
It was vintage De Villiers, almost as if he had spent no time on the sidelines.
De Villiers has represented South Africa in 106 Tests at an average of 50.46 and in 206 One Day Internationals at an average of 53.63.
An international icon, De Villiers smashed 687 runs at an average of 52.84 for the Indian Premier League team the Royal Challengers Bangalore last season. His strike-rate of 168.79 is an indication of how he dominated all comers.
His friendly rivalry with fellow RCB-player Virat Kohli and the question as to who is the best in the world in the shorter formats - Kohli, De Villiers or Steve Smith - have produced many cricketing debates around the globe.
David Brooke, brand activation and sponsorship manager of the Western Province Cricket Association, said over 14 000 tickets have been sold for the match at Newlands.
“I expect an avalanche of requests for tickets and we suspect that a capacity crowd will turn up in support of the Proteas. South Africa would obviously want to turn the tables after a disappointing defeat at the Wanderers and there are few other venues with such tangible South African patriotism as Newlands,” Brooke said.