AB de Villiers hit the fastest century in ODI history as South Africa overwhelmed the West Indies in the second ODI at the Wanderers in Johannesburg yesterday.
De Villiers raced to his century off 31 balls – five balls fewer than the previous record – on the way to an astonishing 149 off 44 balls.
With opening batsmen Hashim Amla and Rilee Rossouw also hitting centuries in a South African record first-wicket stand, South Africa piled up a massive 439-2.
The West Indies were never likely to chase down a world record target but managed a respectable 291-7 to give South Africa a 148-run win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The target was never likely to be within the reach of the West Indies, especially after big-hitting Chris Gayle was caught at deep midwicket off Morne Morkel for 19 in the fifth over.
Dwayne Smith made 64 off 65 balls and Denesh Ramdin contributed 57 off 55 deliveries.
Amla (153 not out) and Rossouw (128) put on 247 for the first wicket — a record partnership for any wicket by the Proteas.
Rossouw was dismissed off the third ball in the 39th over. De Villiers promoted himself to number three and struck the ball out of the middle of his bat from the first delivery he faced, which he thrashed for four past Jerome Taylor.
He reached the half century mark in 16 balls, one fewer than Sanath Jayasuriya’s previous record for the fastest half-century, for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in 1995-96, then powered his way past Corey Anderson’s record for the fastest century.
He took five balls fewer than Anderson’s hundred for New Zealand against the West Indies in 2013-14.
The South African captain’s innings included 16 sixes, equalling the world record set by Rohit Sharma, when he hit 209 for India against Australia in Bangalore in 2013-14, while he also hit nine fours.
South Africa went past their own previous highest total – the 438-9 they scored in a record run chase against Australia on the same ground in 2005-06 – and Sri Lanka’s world record of 443-9 against the Netherlands in 2006 seemed set to fall.
But De Villiers hit the fourth ball of the final over from Andre Russell to deep cover and Amla could not score off the final two deliveries.
Amla’s 153 not out was scored off 142 balls with 14 fours, while Rossouw hit his 128 off 115 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes.
After the game, Man of the Match De Villiers said he had refused to back down when he found out he was closing in on the record.
“I had a lot of time to warm up in the changing room, thinking about how I was playing,” he said. “I actually wanted David Miller to go in but Russell made a great call, he told me to go. I played my knock even before I came out to bat; I really wanted to do well today. I was on 92 when I knew the record was close and I wasn’t going to take singles!”
Meanwhile, West Indies captain Jason Holder said they had to put this disastrous encounter behind them. “It was a tough game, De Villiers took it away from us. We weren’t doing too badly in the middle overs but he took it away from us. We just need to put this behind us now.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2015.
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