AB de Villiers smashes fastest ODI ton in 31 balls

South Africa skipper also claims fastest half-century against West Indies

South Africa captain AB de Villiers launches one of his 16 sixes on his way to the fastest ODI century in history during the second ODI against the West Indies  at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.  Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

South Africa captain AB de Villiers launches one of his 16 sixes on his way to the fastest ODI century in history during the second ODI against the West Indies at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

 

Skipper AB de Villiers took 31 balls to smash the fastest century in one-day internationals on Sunday as South Africa posted 439 for two, their highest team total in this format, in the second ODI against West Indies at the Wanderers in Johannesburg .

Described by retired Australian stumper Adam Gilchrist as the “most valuable cricketer on the planet” earlier this week, De Villiers blasted 16 sixes and nine fours in his blistering 44-ball knock of 149, bettering New Zealander Corey Anderson’s 36-ball century against West Indies last year.

The 30-year-old right-hander went down on his knees and slog-swept Jason Holder over deep mid-wicket for his 10th six to bring up his century before raising his bat and taking off his helmet with a broad smile on his face.

Coming out to bat after a 247-run opening stand between Hashim Amla (153 not out) and Rilee Rossouw (128), De Villiers set a new record for the fastest half-century as well.

He reached the milestone in 16 balls, improving the previous best mark of Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan in 1996 by a delivery.

Known for his improvisation, he manufactured big shots and cleared the boundary at will, equaling the world record for 16 sixes in an ODI innings.

He was eventually out in the final over of the innings, one run away from shattering the record for fastest 150, currently held by Australian Shane Watson who reached the mark in 83 balls against Bangladesh.

“He said he was going to have a look for one over but hit his first six balls for 24. He is an amazing player,” Amla said about De Villiers, who ripped apart the West Indian attack after coming to the crease in the 39th over.

Rossouw struck his maiden ODI century with a relatively sedate 128 from 115 deliveries, while Amla registered his highest ODI score from 142 balls.

South Africa beat their previous highest 50-over score of 438 at the same ground against Australia in 2006, a match in which they chased down a target of 434 with a ball to spare.

Ireland will play against both sides in next month’s Cricket World Cup, opening up their campaign against the West Indies in the New Zealand city of Nelson on February 16th. Ireland face the Proteas in Canberra in their third Pool 3 game on March 3rd.

As a 20-year-old in 2004, De Villiers spent time playing cricket with Carrickfergus in the Northern Cricket Union, making back-to-back double centuries for the club before being called up to the South Africa ’A’ side.

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