Sydney, Feb 27:
An unbelievable, unbeaten 162 from just 66 deliveries by captain AB de Villiers powered South Africa to 408/5 against the West Indies in a World Cup Pool B contest at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Friday.
Inexplicable hitting by World No.1 batsman de Villiers, who smashed 17 boundaries and eight sixes at will, helped the Africans amass 150 runs in the last 10 overs to post South Africa’s highest World Cup score which also happens to be the quadrennial event’s second highest total after India’s 413/5 against Bermuda in 2007.
De Villiers might have scarred Windies captain and pacer Jason Holder’s confidence of bowling in international cricket permanently as he smashed 34 runs in the 48th over, second most in World Cups after compatriot Herschelle Gibbs hit 36 in an over against the Netherlands in 2007.
The 23-year-old Holder hoped to redeem himself by bowling the 50th over but de Villiers was merciless as he hammered 30 more runs off the last over to score 78 off the last three.
In the process, the South African scored the second fastest hundred in World Cup history, that too with a six, in 52 balls and the fastest 150, coming in 64 balls. The fastest World Cup century was scored by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien against England off 50 balls in 2011.
South Africa started very slowly after electing to bat but the story totally changed in the last 15 overs. The batting powerplay, from the 36th to the 40th over, yielded 72 runs without a wicket and a dot ball!
Healthy contributions from opener Hashim Amla (65), Faf du Plessis (62) and Rilee Rossouw (61) held the innings together before de Villiers came in to bat at No.5. The 31-year-old scored his 20th ODI century at a incredible strike rate of 245.45!
The Windies bowlers did not have much to boast about as none of them, barring Chris Gayle, went below seven an over with poor Holder ending with the worst figures of 10-2-104-1. Andre Russel and Gayle picked up two wickets.
The records are totally against the West Indies winning the match. In the last 18 meetings between the two sides, the Caribbean team have won only once. They also have never chased down a target of 300 or more in World Cups and the highest successful chase at the SCG was by Australia against England, when they scored 334.
Brief scores: South Africa 408/8 in 50 overs (AB de Villiers 162 not out, Hashim Amla 65, Faf du Plessis 62; Chris Gayle 2/21, Andre Russel 2/74) vs West Indies. (IANS)