After 17 years, over 20,000 runs and countless jaw-dropping moments, Abraham Benjamin de Villiers has announced his retirement from all forms of the game at age 37. Mr. 360 revolutionized the game of cricket, making the impossible seem ordinary on a nightly basis, and will forever be remembered as one of the greatest of all time.
As de Villiers draws the curtains on what has been an illustrious career, we look back at the South African Genius’ top five innings across all forms of the game.
1. 79* (47) vs Gujarat Lions, Qualifier 1, Bengaluru 2016
AB De Villiers has scored three centuries and innumerable match-winning knocks in the IPL, but his greatest innings in RCB red came in 2016 against the Gujarat Lions. Chasing 159, RCB were reduced 29 for five and 68 for six at the halfway mark, with AB forced to bat along with the tail to take the team into the final. It seemed like an impossible task, but de Villiers soaked up the pressure to begin with before launching a stunning counter-attack. Mr. 360 unfurled his entire arsenal of strokes, spraying the ball to all parts of the Chinnaswamy and sharing a 91-run stand with Iqbal Abdulla to take RCB home with ten balls to spare.
2. 149 (44) vs West Indies, Johannesburg 2015
Perhaps the most iconic innings played by the maestro came in Johannesburg in 2015, where de Villiers pummelled the West Indies bowlers into submission on a flat deck at the Wanderers. AB walked in at 247 for one with 11 overs to go and unleashed carnage, scoring the fastest half-century and century in ODI cricket. De Villiers raced to his 100 off just 31 deliveries and finished with an astonishing 44-ball 149 – which included a record 16 sixes – to take South Africa to their highest ODI score of 439.
3. 162* (66) vs West Indies, Sydney 2015
Just a few months after his stunning 149 against the West Indies, AB de Villiers launched another brutal attack against the Men in Maroon at the 2015 T20 World Cup. After scoring the fastest 50 and 100 in that innings, AB completed the full set this time around as he smashed the fastest 150 in ODI cricket – off just 64 deliveries. De Villiers hit 17 fours and 8 sixes in this innings and personally plundered an unbelievable 64 runs from Jason Holder’s final two overs to take the Proteas to 408.
4. 33 (220) vs Australia, Adelaide 2012
Part of what made De Villiers so special is that his game wasn’t only about six-hitting or flamboyance, and he could switch his style according to the situation, making him the ultimate modern-day batter. Against Australia in Adelaide, this versatility was on full display as de Villiers played a match-saving innings on the fifth day, scoring only 33 runs from 220 balls – without hitting a single boundary – to bat out for a draw. To make this blockathon even sweeter, de Villiers followed it up with a stunning 169 in the next Test a week later to help the Proteas win the series.
5. 217* (333) vs India, Ahmedabad 2008
AB de Villiers scored an unbelievable 217* off just 333 deliveries to help South Africa comfortably ease past India by an astonishing innings and 90 runs in the 2nd Test at Ahmedabad. After Steyn and Ntini ran through the Indian batting line-up in 20 overs for just 76 on a surprisingly green surface, de Villiers rubbed salt in the wound for the Indians. The South African destroyed both pace and spin to score his maiden Test double ton and help the Proteas put on a mammoth 494-run total.
[Featured Image Credit: ANI]