De Villiers influence already inspiring Heat teammates
South African well on his way to fulfilling ambition to 'leave a legacy' with Brisbane Heat after an assured performance in his first game
15 January 2020, 10:28 AM AEST
AB de Villiers wants to "leave a legacy" in the Brisbane Heat dressing rooms.
Matthew Renshaw's reaction after their match-winning partnership on Tuesday indicates it may have only taken him two days to do it.
The South African touched down in Brisbane on Sunday night, trained on Monday and on Tuesday walked onto the Gabba and smoked the first ball he faced in the KFC BBL through cover for four.
Crack! The beautiful sound of bat on ball as AB de Villiers crunches a boundary on his very first ball #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/PfkxO4ExKm— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 14, 2020
He finished with 40 off 32, entering at 2-11 and departing with a win against Adelaide all but assured.
Former Test opener Renshaw finished 52 not out and couldn't hide his glee after sharing in a 77-run stand with the new recruit.
"It was pretty surreal," the 23-year-old said.
Yep, Matt Renshaw loves batting with AB de Villiers! @BKTtires | #BBL09 pic.twitter.com/kp6fyM3A2A— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 14, 2020
"A few of the shots he played ... I was just in awe of the back-foot punch over cover (off world No.1 T20 bowler Rashid Khan).
"It was unbelievably beautiful – I was pretty excited about that, but he brought a lot of calmness and helped me with my game."
De Villiers flagged his desire post-game to come out of international retirement in October's T20 World Cup in Australia.
While hopeful it will happen under new coach and former teammate Mark Boucher, his immediate concern is to have a positive impact at the Heat.
Currently fourth on run rate behind Perth, the Heat (5-4) have five more games plus a potential finals series with de Villiers in their ranks.
Almost 20,000 fans attended the awkward Tuesday afternoon fixture and the 35-year-old said he was surprised and humbled by the hype around his arrival.
"I want to do well but the most important thing is for my teammates; I want to contribute and leave a legacy in the team room," he said.
"If I entertain the crowds by doing that it's a bonus.
"But you're never guaranteed of success or performing well, so that's what keeps you humble.
"It was good fun, but we start from scratch in the next game, that's the beauty of cricket."