Proteas’ centurions bludgeon records

2015-01-19 00:00

THERE is something magical about the Wanderers. The Johannesburg stadium was the venue for what is largely considered the greatest game of cricket ever — the famous ‘434’ match where South Africa chased down the biggest score ever posted in ODI cricket to beat Australia in 2006.

And there were more tumbling records yesterday as Proteas captain AB de Villiers somewhat supernaturally struck the fastest century the game has yet seen, taking just 31 balls to reach three figures.

The previous record was held by New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, who took 36 balls to reach 100 against the West Indies last year.

De Villiers’s 16-ball half century was also a new record.

When De Villiers strode to the wicket after South Africa’s highest ever opening stand in ODI cricket — 247 between Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw — there were just 11 and a half overs left in the innings.

What followed was nothing short of spectacular as the 30-year-old launched 16 sixes and nine fours in an innings that lasted less than an hour.

By the time he had been dismissed for a career-best 149 from 44 balls, the Wanderers faithful were on their feet aware that they had just witnessed something special.

In addition to De Villiers’s personal milestones, South Africa also surpassed the 438 they scored against Australia for their highest total in ODI cricket.

Their 439/2 was not a world record, though. Sri Lanka still boast that honour after carding 443/9 against the Netherlands in 2006.

What it does mean is that South Africa have now scored three of the five highest scores yet delivered in ODIs, with their Mark Boucher-inspired 418/5 also in 2006 against Zimbabwe the fifth highest total ever.

De Villiers, Amla (153*) and Rossouw (128) all left with their highest ever scores in ODI cricket.

AB de Villiers said: “Lots of ­credit to Rilee and Hash up front, it allowed myself to free up.

“It was always going to be a lot of aggressive batting around Hash.

“I played my knock even before I came out to bat, I really wanted to go today. I was on 92 when I knew the record was close and I wasn’t going to take singles!”

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