South Africa v England: AB de Villiers returns to Johannesburg
We look back at some of AB de Villiers' greatest ODI hundreds...
By David Currie
Last Updated: 12/02/16 8:27am
The next stop for South Africa and England's thrilling ODI series is Johannesburg, scene of a sensational century by AB de Villiers a year ago.
Friday's fourth ODI could either see England secure the series, or South Africa tie things up at 2-2 with one to play.
If the latter is to happen, the hosts will hope for another of AB's best. Something like one of these…
(149 off 44 balls v West Indies, January 2015, Johannesburg)
In the last ODI played at the Wanderers, De Villiers produced an innings of unbelievably epic proportions, hitting a record-fastest century, off 31 balls, and striking a staggering 16 sixes in total across his innings. He absolutely man-handled a sorry West Indies attack - and wasn't the only one, with Hashim Amla (153) and Rilee Rossouw (128) also notching huge hundreds meaning De Villiers didn't arrive at the crease till the 39th over!
South Africa scored 439-2 in their 50 overs, the first of four times in 2015 they would pass the 400-mark, with De Villiers hitting hundreds in three of those efforts. The only thing more striking than this innings that day was the pink kit he and his team-mates were wearing, in support of World Cancer Day. They will be donning the same colours for the same cause come Friday against England, who will hope it doesn't have the same effect on AB.
(162no off 66 balls v West Indies, 2015 World Cup, Sydney)
Once again the West Indies were the victims, succumbing to De Villiers again a mere 40 days later in their World Cup clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Due to his earlier efforts at the Wanderers, this 66-ball 162 didn't better his own record for the quickest ODI hundred, but it is his highest score, the fastest 150, and arguably his greatest ever innings, coming as it did on cricket's biggest stage.
All the more staggering about De Villiers' efforts is that South Africa had scored 258-3 when he went through to a fairly sedate - by his standards - 30-ball fifty in the 40th over, and he proceeded to smash 112 off his next 36 balls, including 62 from his final 14 as the Proteas pummelled 150 runs total from the final 10 overs to push past 400 again. AB's explosive, 360-degree hitting at the World Cup, along with the likes of Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle, has led to a one-day revolution, one which this 'new' England side have bought into brilliantly following a dismal tournament.
(146 off 130 balls v West Indies, 2007 World Cup, Grenada)
It may surprise you that it took De Villiers 38 ODIs to score his maiden century. In fact, De Villiers didn't even notch a fifty till his 17th game, and tallied six single-figure scores in his first 14 innings! What won't surprise you though is that when his first hundred did finally arrive, it was the West Indies who again were made to suffer, and at another World Cup too - the embarrassment made worse by it being one they were hosting.
De Villiers - opening the batting at the 2007 tournament - struck 146 off 130 balls, with 12 fours and five sixes as South Africa amassed 356-4, in securing a vital 67-run win in the Super Eights. Vital for the side, having suffered an embarrassing 67-run reverse to Bangladesh in their previous game, and vital too for De Villiers having scored only 15 in that defeat, and with three ducks from six World Cup innings to his name up until that point.
(119 off 61 balls v India, October 2015, Mumbai)
De Villiers' most recent century sealed a series win in India, and in emphatic style too, as he smashed 11 sixes in scoring 119 off 61 balls as South Africa (438-4) again passed 400, thrashing India by 214 runs in Mumbai. Again AB had company at the crease, as Quinton de Kock (109) and Faf du Plessis (133) too contributed with impressive hundreds.
But De Villiers stood out above the rest, not only for the sheer destructive nature of his knock, but for the fact that it was his third century in the five-match series. The 73-ball 104 he hit in a thrilling five-run win in the first ODI in Kanpur proved to be particularly crucial considering the slender 3-2 scoreline.
(121 off 85 balls v England, November 2009, Cape Town)
England have only truly suffered at the hands of De Villiers once in 24 meetings, but it came on their last trip to South Africa in 2009, at Cape Town, scene of the fifth ODI of their current series. England will be keen to keep him quieter this time round, especially if a South African win in Johannesburg on Friday, sees it being a series decider.
It was the only blip in a 2-1 series win for England, but quite the blip, a 112-run blip in fact as De Villiers struck 14 fours on his way to 121 off 85 balls, taking a particular liking to James Anderson, who returned expensive figures of 0-55 from his seven overs, before Stuart Broad (4-71) eventually picked him in. Set 355 to win, Paul Collingwood was the only batsman to make a dent in the total, with 86 from 82 balls, while Wayne Parnell (5-48) ran through the side.
Will South Africa square up the series in Johannesburg on Friday? Find out from 11am on Sky Sports 2. You can also follow all the action with our live blog.