AB de Villiers’ much-anticipated Big Bash debut proved quite significant for his new Brisbane Heat team as he contributed a quick-fire 40 at the Gabba on Tuesday.
De Villiers’ valuable contribution came off 31 deliveries as he helped his team claim a resounding seven-wicket victory over the Adelaide Strikers.
Having only arrived in Australia over the weekend and with the Heat in some trouble after eight matches, the hope for coach Darren Lehman was that the South African’s vast experience and talent would help their push for a playoff spot.
De Villiers came into the competition off the back of a good Mzansi Super League in December where he helped the Tshwane Spartans to the final.
Strikers captain Travis Head won the bat flip and decided to bat first, but it proved to be a costly decision as the Heat’s bowlers and particularly James Pattinson ripped them apart. The right-armer destroyed the Strikers’ top order, claiming five wickets for 33 runs with De Villiers taking a sharp catch to help dismiss Jonathan Wells.
That left the Heat needing just 111 for victory.
Their chase got off to poor start with big-hitting captain Chris Lynn gone for a golden duck and fellow opener Max Bryant dismissed for only ten runs.
De Villiers, though, showed why he is so destructive in this format of the game as he despatched his first delivery past deep cover to the boundary for four off the bowling of spinner Rashid Khan.
The best in the world going at it in Brisbane.
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 14, 2020
The former Proteas skipper took a liking to the Afghanistan bowler, hitting him to the boundary with relative ease.
He added a further two fours off the bowling of Harry Conway and Liam Connor before falling to the latter, mistiming a back-of-the-length delivery, which he played of the back foot straight to Michael Nesser at long on.
Matthew Renshaw’s half-century steered the Heat to a comfortable victory in the end, mainly down to the valuable contribution of De Villiers, who made his new set of fans forget about their previous predicament.