AB de Villiers played the greatest innings in ODI history to crush the West Indies by 148 runs in the second ODI, at the Wanderers on Sunday.
He hammered 149 off just 44 balls, smashing a series of world records along the way as the Proteas registered 439, the highest score between Test playing nations. The West Indies replied with 291-7.
At some point, analysis of the Proteas innings became meaningless. It was efficient and measured when Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw put on 51 in the powerplay, and convincingly solid when they brought up the 100 after 20 overs. Then they stepped up the pressure and the innings could be described as excellent when they registered 247 for the first wicket, a record for South Africa.
Rossouw had something to prove after his 0 in the first ODI, his fifth in 10 innings. His 128 came off 115 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes. The end was tame by comparison of what had gone before, chipping Taylor to mid-off in the 39th over. But the foundation had been laid for an assault on the last 10 overs. No one could have predicted what an assault that would be.
To be sure, the runs on board gave De Villiers a certain freedom, but never was an eye so unerring, the strike so sure. There was nothing the West Indies could do to staunch the flow. He slammed his first ball for four. The following over, from Andre Russell, he declared his intention with a 4, 6, 4, 6 over mid-off and square of the wicket. And from there, the knock became a succession of records falling as fast and hard as a highveld storm.
Just 16 balls faced and De Villiers had a 50-run world record; 15 balls later came the world record 100. When he got to 149, off 44 balls, he had blasted 16 sixes and ‘only’ nine fours. He had to run for just 17 of his total.
Finally, after 439 runs had been posted, with just two balls to go, the power waned and De Villiers holed out to deep cover. The West Indians were too shell-shocked to celebrate. Amla saw out the innings to end with 153 off 142 (14×4). The run rate was just shy of nine an over.
Even Chris Gayle must have realised that the task was beyond them, and he didn’t last long, gone for 19 off 14 balls after pulling Morne Morkel to deep-midwicket where Farhaan Behardien took a good catch. Still, after 10 overs, they were ahead; 63 runs to the Proteas’ 51 at that stage. But they had lost not only Gayle, but Leon Johnson, too, lbw to Philander for 1 (off 15 balls) and the run rate was then 9.5 an over.
To their credit, the West Indies did not just roll over, but as a spectacle, the match was dead. All that was left was for Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels to offer token resistance. Which they did for 11 overs, putting on 59, when Smith (64) misjudged Behardien and was well taken by JP Duminy at long-off. Samuels followed soon after for 40, and that was that.
There was also an admirable show of defiance by Denesh Ramdin (57) and Jonathan Carter (40), putting on 83 for the fifth wicket and between Darren Sammy (25 not out) and Jason Holder (21 not out), just to show that the Windies do indeed have a spine.
Two up in the five-match series, the show now moves on to East London for the third ODI on Wednesday.
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The AB numbers:
50: off 16 balls; the fastest fifty in ODI history, passing Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka (17 balls) against Pakistan in 1996.
100: off 31 balls; the fastest 100 in ODI history, passing Corey Anderson of New Zealand (36 balls) West Indies in Queenstown in 2014.
16: the number of sixes AB de Villiers hit, equalling that of Rohit Sharma (India) in a knock of 209 v Australia in 2013.
17.2: The partnership run-rate during the 192-run stand, off 67 balls, between Amla and de Villiers. This is the highest run rate for a 100-plus partnership against any Test playing nation.
40: the number of minutes which De Villiers took for his hundred.
339: De Villiers’ strike rate.
3: The number of batsmen who scored centuries, Hashim Amla (153), Rilee Rossouw (128) and de Villiers (149). This is the first instance of three batsman scoring hundreds in the same innings in an ODI.
439: The total score posted by South Africa, the second highest in ODIs. The record is 443, by Sri Lanka against Netherlands in 2006.