Shahid Afridi had set the world on fire in October 1996 when he blasted a 37-ball century in an ODI for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in Kenya. It was the fastest ODI century in history at that time. This world record stood for 17 years before New Zealand’s Corey Anderson smashed a century off 36 balls on January 1, 2014 during the Queenstown ODI against the West Indies. However, 382 days later, on January 18, 2015, AB de Villiers pushed the boundaries of batting in an exhibition of hitting, which rewrote the dynamics of modern-day batting.
In the second ODI of the series between South Africa and the West Indies at Johannesburg, de Villiers created history and broke Anderson’s record for the fastest century to blaze away to a 31-ball ton.
West Indies inserted South Africa in and it proved to be a big mistake as Rillee Rossouw and Hashim Amla strung a 247-run opening stand. When Rossouw departed for 128, the Windies would have hoped for some relief. But, they were mistaken. De Villiers came out at No.3 and carnage unfolded.
He got off the mark with a boundary off Jerome Taylor and showed signs of things to come. In the 40th over bowled by Andre Russell, he smashed two fours and two sixes, including one scoop to fine leg as West Indies crumbled. After blasting another six off Taylor, de Villiers tore apart Jason Holder apart as he smashed him for three sixes and a boundary to notch up the fastest fifty off just 16 balls.
Bringing up the 100 in style
De Villiers entered the 80s with a couple of boundaries off Dwayne Smith but in the 46th over, he took Holder apart again. He neared a century with a four and a six and notched up the landmark by slog sweeping the bowler to deep mid-wicket. His century took just 31 balls, setting a world record but he was not finished. After reaching his century, he plundered another six off Holder.
In the 49th over of the innings, de Villiers’ batting went up another gear as he walloped four sixes and a four off Dwayne Smith to move to 147. However, he was dismissed on 149 off just 44 balls as South Africa ended up on 439/2, the second-highest total in ODIs and their highest overall.
In the partnership of 192 runs, Amla’s contribution was just 39 runs and he finished unbeaten on 153. De Villiers smashed 16 sixes in the innings, equalling the record set by Rohit Sharma who slammed 209 in the Bangalore ODI against Australia in 2013. South Africa hammered 163 runs in the last 10 overs.
De Villiers continues to hurt West Indies
If West Indies thought that they had seen the last of AB de Villiers’ destructive powers, they were sorely mistaken. In the 2015 World Cup league match in Sydney, de Villiers notched up the fastest 150 in ODI history. The SCG witnessed history after de Villiers notched up the second-fastest century in World Cups off 51 balls. After reaching the milestone, he reached the 150-mark off just 63 balls to end unbeaten on 162 off 66 balls.
The last three overs witnessed 78 runs, including a 34-run over and a 30-run over off Jason Holder respectively as South Africa inflicted a 257-run thrashing on the West Indies. Thus, de Villiers completed the unique set of fastest fifty, fastest 100 and fastest 150, all against the same opponent. De Villiers had acquired a reputation of being the ‘superman’ of batting, and it was his exploits on January 18, 2015 that had set up this amazing feat.