There is arguably no bigger cricketing star on the planet now than AB De Villiers, and in 2015 he scaled all kinds of new personal heights for South Africa. In January in one of the most astonishing displays of hitting you’ll ever see he broke the record for the fastest ever ODI hundred & then just a month later against the West Indies again he smashes the fastest ever World Cup 150
Amla recorded his highest ODI score, an unbeaten 153, while de Villiers smashed the fastest ODI ton off just 31 balls as South Africa registered a 148-run victory over West Indies at the Wanderers to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
De Villiers strolled out to bat at No. 3 after the openers – Amla and Rilee Rossouw – put on a mammoth 247 for the first wicket. Rossouw blazed his way to a 115-ball 128, his first international century, to set the foundation for a late onslaught. With just 11.3 overs left, de Villiers had the authority and freedom to express himself right from the outset.
He did so in majestic fashion, hitting nine fours and equalling Rohit Sharma’s record of 16 sixes, the most in an ODI innings. He finally perished for 149 in the final over to Andre Russell. Amla also chipped in with an unbeaten 153 as South Africa posted 439 for 2. after it was sent in to bat.
"When AB bats, the fielders become spectators and the spectators become fielders!" Author Unknown— Shaun Pollock (@7polly7) February 27, 2015
In reply, none of the West Indies batsmen could get off the blocks quickly as South Africa’s target seemed a distant dream.
The day was all about the man who makes the impossible possible. De Villiers went to fifty off just 16 balls, one fewer than Sanath Jayasuriya’s previous record for the fastest fifty for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in 1996 in Singapore. He then powered his way past Corey Anderson’s record for the fastest ton.
De Villiers took five balls fewer than Anderson’s hundred for New Zealand against West Indies in Queenstown in January last year. The ferocity of the knock was such that Gayle, who played a match-winning Twenty20 International innings at the same venue last week, bowed in salute as de Villiers went past him.
De Villiers had a ripple effect on Amla, who played some eye-catching strokes soon after getting to his 18th ODI century as Jerome Taylor, easily the quickest of the West Indies bowlers, was in for special punishment as both batsmen used his pace superbly to send the ball soaring over the ropes with regularity.
Between them, Taylor and Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, conceded 186 off their 20 overs. However, Sulieman Benn, the left-arm spinner, finished with figures of 1 for 49 off his 10 overs. But that wasn’t enough to stop a marauding de Villiers who kept the West Indies bowlers, scorers, statisticians and spectators on their toes.
Along the way, South Africa went past its own previous highest total – the 438 for 9 it scored in a record chase against Australia in March 2006.
Got back to a home cooked meal after a long day. Really happy with today's win. It was fun to perform out there! Thanks for all the support— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) January 18, 2015
Two months later, De Villiers scored the fastest 150 in history, once again against the West Indies, during South Africa's World Cup encounter at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
He got to the milestone in 64 deliveries, breaking the previous record of an 83-ball 150 by Shane Watson against Bangladesh in 2011.
After the match, de Villiers summed up the 257-run win – the equal-largest winning margin in World Cup history – by simply saying, “It was our day today, the bounce of the ball went our way and my way and I'm sure the West Indies will bounce back.”
Seemingly breaking records with every ball towards the end of his innings, de Villiers, who remained unbeaten on 162 off 66 balls, displayed the mix of conventional, unorthodox and simply unbelievable shots he has become famous for, lofting eight sixes and smashing 17 fours.
It was the second-fastest World Cup century ever, but it was not even de Villiers’ fastest ton this year.
And all this from a man who battled an energy-sapping sickness in the previous 24 hours, and was clearly far from 100 per cent when he took his place in the middle.
To see the full scorecard of the match between South Africa and West Indies in Johannesburg, please click here.