ABdV back with an almighty bang

19 October 2017

His first innings back in international cricket after a lenghty lay-off and the Proteas great shows why he's one of the all-time greats

South Africa v Bangladesh ODIs, Second ODI


AB de Villiers blasted a career-best 176 to set up a series-clinching 104-run win for South Africa in the second one-day international against Bangladesh at Boland Park on Wednesday.

South Africa posted an imposing 6-353 after being sent in to bat, while Bangladesh made a spirited start to their response before being bowled out for 249.

De Villiers raced to his 25th one-day international century off just 68 balls with ten fours and a six.

He then added another five fours and six sixes from the next 36 deliveries in a display of dazzling footwork, precise placement and some audacious strokes.

Even so, de Villiers said he felt "quite nervous" at the start of his first international innings in four months. But he said batting partner Hashim Amla was a calming influence as he embarked on a sensational 104-ball innings that totalled 15 fours and seven sixes.

AB de Villiers had not played international cricket for four months // Getty
AB de Villiers had not played international cricket for four months // Getty

Already the holder of the records for the fastest ODI 50, 100 and 150, de Villiers was on target to beat Chris Gayle’s record of 138 balls for the fastest one-day international double century before he hit a low full toss from Rubel Hossain to deep midwicket with 14 balls remaining in the innings.

"It did cross my mind," he said of the possible double century, "but that’s not something I play for. It was all about how many balls I could face at the end of the innings to get as many runs as I could for the team. If it all worked out I would have got there but I’m happy with the 176."

The ease with which De Villiers found the boundary was in complete contrast to his teammates, who managed to hit only five fours and a solitary six between them, struggling to time the ball as it rose slowly off the surface, while the outfield was unusually slow after three days of rain.

De Villiers dominated stands of 136 off 111 balls for the third wicket with Hashim Amla (85) and 111 off 70 balls for the fourth wicket with JP Duminy (30).

"I had a net in Kimberley, one of the best nets I’ve ever had, so I could feel something good was coming," said de Villiers, who wasn't required to bat during South Africa’s 10-wicket win in the first ODI at Kimberley on Sunday.

De Villiers launches one of seven sixes into the stands // Getty
De Villiers launches one of seven sixes into the stands // Getty

Mashrafe Mortaza’s decision to bowl first was justified as there was some early movement for his seam bowlers – but he and his fellow new-ball bowlers were unable to separate the in-form pair of Quinton de Kock and Amla until they had put on 90 for the first wicket.

Then Shakib Al Hasan took two wickets in three balls, which brought de Villiers to the crease. "Shakib bowled really well but AB came in and took the game away from us. He’s a destroyer," said Mortaza.

Rubel Hossain took three wickets in his last two overs to finish with 4-62.

Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes put on 44 off 46 balls for Bangladesh’s first wicket, with Kayes going on to make 68 off 77 balls. Mushfiqur Rahim followed up his century in the first match with 60 off 70 balls. Kayes was third out with the total on 162 in the 29th over and the innings lost momentum.

Medium-pacer Andile Phehlukwayo had career-best figures of 4-40.