AB de Villiers rolled back the years in typical AB fashion on Saturday, producing a scintillating batting display to help the Brisbane Heat to a comfortable 71-run victory over the Melbourne Stars at the MCG.
Having won the bat flip and deciding to bat first in the all-important Big Bash clash, Chris Lynn’s Heat team struggled to get going once again with Star’s spinner Adam Zampa keep his overs tidy.
De Villiers strolled to the crease with his team on 58-2 and when Lynn fell, it seemed another low score was going to hamper Darren Lehman’s team’s chances of making the playoffs.
But the former Proteas skipper turned on the gas after taking some time to hit his straps.
He took a particular liking to left-arm spinner Clint Hinchliffe, smacking him over the boundary with the greatest of ease.
De Villiers notched up his half-century from just 28 deliveries and with Marnus Labuschagne at the other end, the two frustrated the Stars bowlers towards the end of the innings.
De Villiers fell to the last ball, though, when he was caught trying to go for another big shot.
But his score of 71 off 37 deliveries, which included two fours and six sixes, helped the Heat to a big total of 186-5 after the 20 overs.
It was always going to be a tough ask for the Stars to chase that total down on a tricky MCG pitch, which actually proved difficult to bat on if the right lengths were being bowled.
The Stars, though, were in trouble as soon as big-hitting Marcus Stoinis was gone for just 17.
Regular wickets meant the home team never really got going and with the help from De Villiers, who was behind the stumps keeping for the first time in quite a few years, the Heat restricted the Stars to 115 all out with Mitchell Swepson the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images