Throughout his career, AB de Villiers earned many sobriquets — ‘superman’, ‘maverick’, ‘Mr 360’. As the South African giant called time on his international career on Wednesday, here’s a glimpse at how de Villiers justified every word used to describe his flamboyancy.
The right-handed batsman — who also kept wickets initially — amassed 20,014 runs across formats.
Chasing down in style
Early in his career, he made an impact by helping South Africa chase down 414 in a Test against Australia in Perth in 2008. He remained unbeaten on 106 (nine fours) off 186 balls. Graeme Smith, the then Proteas skipper, had scored 108 to set the stage.
In the Abu Dhabi heat, de Villiers shone in whites scoring a double ton against Pakistan in 2010. He remained unbeaten on 278 off 418 balls (23 fours and six sixes) and batted for 601 minutes. In the interest of the team, he didn’t disapprove of a declaration as the scoreboard read 584/9. The match was drawn, but de Villiers provided a fine example of how to adjust to foreign conditions.
Test-saving 33 off 220 balls
De Villiers was not only about aerial routes. He could switch his game depending on the need of the hour. At the Adelaide Test against Australia in 2012, South Africa was set a target of 430 and it managed to save the match on the fifth day. De Villiers played out 220 balls — not a single boundary — in 246 minutes and scored only 33 runs.
Fastest 100 off 31 balls
On January 18, 2015, de Villiers broke Corey Anderson’s record of the fastest 100 (off 36 balls). Batting against the West Indies at Johannesburg, he reached the three-figure mark in 31 balls, courtesy 16 sixes and nine fours. De Villiers was finally dismissed for 149 (off 44 balls). South Africa set a target of 440 and won the game by 148 runs.
Same year, same pinch
After hammering the fastest ton in January, de Villiers thrashed the Caribbean bowlers again in a month’s time, this time in a World Cup group fixture in Sydney. Mr 360 scored 162* off 66 balls. The innings comprised 17 fours and eight sixes. It helped South Africa register 408 on the board. West Indies was all out for 151.