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04 October 2023

De Villiers shows stomach for record-breaking

South Africa's AB de Villiers hits a boundary during the Cricket World Cup match against the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) February 27, 2015. (Reuters)


South Africa captain AB de Villiers was laid low by illness which gave him a sleepless night before he found the perfect cure by hitting a breathtaking 162 not out in Friday's 257-run World Cup rout of the West Indies.

De Villiers made his runs off just 66 balls as South Africa raced to the second-highest World Cup total of 408 for five, behind only the 413 for five made by India against makeweights Bermuda in Trinidad in 2007.

It was the fastest 150 in one-day internationals and de Villiers now has the fastest fifty, hundred and 150 in ODI cricket - all coming against West Indies.

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De Villiers' century came off 52 balls, just shy of the World Cup fastest ton hit by Ireland's Kevin O'Brien off 50 deliveries against England in Bangalore in 2011.

"I had some stomach problems last night, I didn't eat much and had a very rough night. But the doctor gave me an injection and I was on my way," said de Villiers as his team recovered in emphatic style from their 130-run loss to India in Melbourne last time out.

Friday's result was the record-equalling heaviest defeat at the World Cup alongside India's 257-run win over Bermuda.

De Villiers demolished the West Indians with eight sixes and 17 fours and was particularly savage on his counterpart Jason Holder, clouting four sixes off the pace bowler's final over.

South Africa moved into second place in Pool B behind India on run-rate while West Indies are fourth, also on four points but behind Ireland after their net run-rate took a battering at the SCG.

De Villiers, who also pummelled the Windies with the fastest one-day century off 31 balls in Johannesburg in January, praised the fighting spirit of his team for the way they bounced back from their abject display against defending champions India.

"I had a nice chat to the guys before this game and I really felt they were motivated to play some good cricket," de Villiers said.

"It's great to see the team like that, hustling around and ready to fight. It's a great turnaround after the disappointing loss at the MCG (to India)."

De Villiers paid tribute to Rilee Rossouw (61), one of three changes in the Proteas side, for kick-starting his stunning knock.

"It is about assessing the situation of the game constantly," he said. "Rilee played a big part today in getting me off my feet. I didn't feel too well when I was walking out to bat, I felt really flat.

"He had a lot of energy about him, a lot of intensity, he was getting into really good positions, making the wicket look flat. We were getting a lot of momentum behind us at a really quick pace and that helped us a lot.

"We always felt that we wanted to be there by the 45th over, one of us at least, so having a go at the bowlers and upping the run-rate was never part of the plan.

"It just happened because both of us are really aggressive players and we like to be busy at crease, we ran a lot of two and I think all that helped in me having a go."

De Villiers, who scored his 20th and highest ODI ton of his stellar career, said it was a special feeling batting in the middle.

"You get into that kind of zone and it doesn't happen very often and it's quite a good feeling to sort of feel that you one step ahead of the bowlers," he said.

"You get a really good gut feel for what they are trying to do. That's part of cricket, you work really to get yourself in and then you work really hard to get some momentum behind you and then you've earned the right to take a bit of control of the game.

"Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't and I got dropped a few times today which meant that I could really free up at the end and dominate a bit."