AB de Villiers says he was nervous before going out to bat against Bangladesh … and hitting his highest ODI score.
‘It’s great to be back; it’s a huge privilege to play for the team and play for the country. The last few months I have been working hard on my game, and all I wanted to do is get back into the side,’ he said after smashing 176 off 104 balls in one of the great displays of ODI batting.
The spectacular innings, which included 15 fours and seven sixes and beat his previous best of 162, set the platform for a 104-run win in the second ODI in Paarl. He came in when the Proteas had lost Quinton de Kock (46) and Faf du Plessis (0) within four balls, with the score on 90-2 after 18 overs.
‘I was quite nervous, with us losing two quick wickets – it felt like my first game again and I told Hash [Amla] that we need to get a partnership for the guys, and it’s important that we do so and we did.
‘It was a great privilege today to do that for the boys and to contribute. It took me an over or so to remember that I actually had a good net in Kimberley, that I’m in good form and I had to remind myself that I am still hitting the ball well.’
It had been uncertain whether De Villiers would ever be the same again after his elbow surgery in September, but after taking some time off with his family and stepping down as ODI captain, he came back with a bang.
On the back of that win, the Proteas went 2-0 up to win the series and go level on points with India at No 1 on the ICC rankings.
De Villiers refused to take credit for all the glory, saying that if anyone else in the side had had the opportunity to score big, they would have done so.
‘I think we would have still won the game, even if I hadn’t got that knock. If I had not scored big, someone else would have; that’s the team we have. We have world-class players who didn’t get the opportunity that I had today. I believe we would have gotten to 330-plus anyway.’
Photo: Thinus Maritz/Gallo Images