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World T20: In-form de Villiers biggest threat for England

world t20 Updated: Mar 18, 2016 01:38 IST
Kushal Phatarpekar
Kushal Phatarpekar
Hindustan Times
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AB de Villiers plundered 119 off 61 balls the last time he played at the Wankhede.(PTI Photo)

AB de Villiers took a liking to the Wankhede last year. A 47-ball 100 in the Indian Premier League in May was followed by a 61-ball 119 in the ODI against India in October, the last match he played at the venue.

On Friday, as he returns to Mumbai, the format will be different. If records are to be considered, the change would hardly matter for the South Africa batting star.

In the opposition will be England, who recently were at the receiving end of his onslaught. De Villiers smashed 71 in just 29 deliveries in the second T20I in the two-match series in February.

Coming in at No 4, de Villiers made the most of a placid track and went after the Indian bowling. The knock helped South Africa post 438 and record a 214-run victory to seal the series which was tied at 2-2.

After Chris Gayle’s pyrotechnics against England on Wednesday, de Villiers will be expected to replicate the feat of his RCB teammate.

For England, de Villiers will not be the lone hurdle. The batting line-up also includes big-hitting batsmen like Faf du Plessis, David Miller and Quinton de Kock.

“AB is in good form and playing some good cricket. Looking forward to see what he does for us in the tournament,” said du Plessis.

“What makes him good is that he does not rely on one or two areas, and generally that comes in more on difficult wickets. As a batsman, the more options you have the more you can be successful,” he said.

“Past performances play a massive role when you come to the ground. As few of us did well against India in the final match in ODI series, and you use that to reflect on and try to repeat that performance,” he added.