De Villiers sets breathtaking new century record

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South Africa 439 for 2 (Amla 153*, de Villiers 149, Rossouw 128) beat West Indies 291 for 7 (Smith 64, Ramdin 57) by 148 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

AB de Villiers ripped up the record books with the fastest century in ODIs, off just 31 balls to beat the previous quickest set by Corey Anderson off 36 balls little more than a year ago, as South Africa beat their own record at the Wanderers and racked up 439, four shy of the world record total of 443.

De Villiers’ was the third hundred in a towering South African total – the first time three had been scored in an ODI innings – which also saw Rilee Rossouw register his maiden century andHashim Amla his 18th, a career-best 153 not out, in the highest opening stand South Africa have ever posted of 247.

In less than an hour, de Villiers took an innings which was building well and turned it into a skyscraper. He clobbered 16 sixes, the most by a South African and the joint-highest number of sixes overall in an ODI innings, and dominated a 192-run second-wicket stand with Amla which lasted just 67 deliveries and in which runs were scored at 17.12 to the over. Amla only faced 30 balls and contributed 33. Such was de Villiers’ dominance.

None of the the West Indian bowlers were spared as de Villiers put on his full range of strokes. There was the pull, the scoop, the lofted drive and the good old slog and Jason Holder, given the toughest of examinations as a young captain, was hardest hit. De Villiers plundered 45 runs off the nine balls he faced from him, including six of his sixes.

By the time Holder could even consider launching a counter-attack of his own, West Indies’ challenge was over. Although they may have had hopes of pulling off something similar to what they did on the same surface last week, when they successfully chased the highest T20 score of 232, West Indies lost Chris Gayle in the fifth over and even though Dwayne Smith and Denesh Ramdin both scored half-centuries, the South African attack were much more difficult to get away than the West Indian one.

Jerome Taylor had the most expensive return for a West Indian bowler in ODIs when his 10 overs cost 95 and Holder was not far behind. His nine overs went for 91. Dwayne Smith also took punishment and finished with an economy of 17 after one of his overs went for 30. Contrastingly, Dale Steyn’s 10 overs went for just 29 runs and Morne Morkel’s for 43 as the pair demonstrated how to operate on a batsmen-friendly surface. They used the short well sparingly and bowled at good pace but ultimately West Indies did not have the same structure to their innings as South Africa did.

Rossouw and Amla were circumspect upfront with Rossouw feeding off Amla’s patience to script a knock he really needed. A yo-yo start to his international career saw Rossouw collect as many ducks as he did starts and he could count them both on one hand. Five noughts would not have infused the man who may be tasked with opening at the World Cup should Quinton de Kock be unfit at the start with confidence but a century will change all that.

After seeing off a testing early period, in which he was given out lbw to a ball he bottom-edged off Sulieman Benn and successfully reviewed, Rossouw showed his ability off the backfoot with a selection of strong pulls and a good understanding of timing and placement. Amla kept the scoreboard moving while Rossouw settled and South Africa had 100 inside 20 overs before they began to accelerate.

Samuels helped them in that cause. Twelve runs came off each of his first and third overs as South Africa took 41 off the five overs between 20 and 25 and took the Powerplay two overs later. Benn enforced a squeeze and South Africa managed just 29 with the fielding restrictions on but the opening stand was unbroken and both batsmen were closing in on centuries. Rossouw’s came first off 102 balls and Amla’s three deliveries later, off 103.

More worryingly for West Indies, it was only the 35th over.

Rossouw chipped a catch to mid-off shortly after that to bring de Villiers and carnage to the crease. At No.3, with a platform laid, de Villiers dictated terms and knocked West Indies off their lines, lengths and plans. His 50 came up in 16 balls, the first world record, before he raced to 100 after facing just 15 more. The bigger he hit, the fewer answers West Indies had and they couldn’t find them in the second half either.

Gayle tried to force the pace of the chase but ran out of luck early on when he miscued a pull. Farhaan Behardien had to move quickly but judged the catch well to immediately dent West Indies’ already slim chances. At least they did not fold and ended nine runs short of 300, which in different circumstances would be considered a decent total. But against the backdrop of the de Villiers show it paled in comparison as South Africa took centre stage and best of all, they did it pretty in pink. It was the third match dedicated to breast cancer awareness in the country and to date, South Africa have won all of them.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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