A.B. de Villiers took 31 balls to smash the fastest century in one-day internationals on Sunday as South Africa posted two for 439, their highest team total in this format, in the second ODI against West Indies at the Wanderers.
Described by retired Australian stumper Adam Gilchrist as the “most valuable cricketer on the planet” earlier this week, de Villiers blasted 16 sixes and nine fours in his blistering 44-ball knock of 149, bettering New Zealander Corey Anderson’s 36-ball century against West Indies last year.
The 30-year-old right-hander went down on his knees and slog-swept Jason Holder over deep mid-wicket for his 10th six to bring up his century before raising his bat and taking off his helmet with a broad smile on his face.
Coming out to bat after a 247-run opening stand between Hashim Amla (153 not out) and Rilee Rossouw (128), de Villiers set a record for the fastest half-century as well.
He reached the milestone in 16 balls, improving the previous best mark by Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan in 1996 by a delivery.
Known for his improvisation, the Proteas ODI captain manufactured big shots and cleared the boundary at will.
He was eventually out in the final over of the innings, one run away from shattering the record for fastest 150, currently held by Australian Shane Watson who reached the mark in 83 balls against Bangladesh.
Rossouw struck his maiden ODI century with a relatively sedate 128 from 115 deliveries, while Amla registered his highest ODI score from 142 balls.
South Africa beat their previous highest 50-over score of 438 at the same ground against Australia in 2006.
The West Indies were unlikely to chase down a world record target but managed a respectable 7-291 to give South Africa a 148-run win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
The target was arguably out of their reach the moment big-hitting Chris Gayle was caught at deep midwicket off Morne Morkel for 19 in the fifth over.
Dwayne Smith, caught off a Morkel no-ball in the first over when he had four, made 64 off 65 balls and Denesh Ramdin contributed 57 off 55 deliveries.
De Villiers said he had planned to send in David Miller for the closing overs but was persuaded by coach Russell Domingo to go in himself.
“There was always going to be a lot of aggressive batting around Hash at the end,” said De Villiers.
“It just came off for me. I did a lot of walks up and down in the change room thinking about how I should be playing.
“I got fired up in the change room, I sort of played my knock before I came out to bat. Aggression was probably the main thing for me, I just wanted to go from the word go.”
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.
He also hit nine fours in an innings which had a near-capacity crowd at the Wanderers roaring in approval.
Aware that they had witnessed a special innings, the West Indian players rushed to congratulate De Villiers. Gayle, who played a match-winning Twenty20 innings at the Wanderers a week earlier, bowed in salute as De Villiers walked past him.
Fastest one-day hundreds:
1. AB de Villiers (South Africa) – 31 balls against West Indies in Johannesburg on Jan.18, 2015.
2. Corey Anderson (New Zealand) – 36 balls against West Indies in Queenstown on Jan.1, 2014.
3. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) – 37 balls against Sri Lanka in Nairobi on Oct.4, 1996.
4. Mark Boucher (South Africa) – 44 balls against Zimbabwe in Potchefstroom on Sept.20, 2006.
5. Brian Lara (West Indies) – 45 balls against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Oct.9, 1999.
6. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) – 45 balls against India in Kanpur on April.15, 2005.
7. Jesse Ryder (New Zealand) – 46 balls against West Indies in Queenstown on Jan.1, 2014.
8. Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) – 48 balls against Pakistan in Singapore on Apr.2, 1996.
9. Kevin O’Brien (Ireland) – 50 balls against England in Bangalore on Mar.2, 2011.
10. Virat Kohli (India) – 52 balls against Australia in Jaipur on Oct. 16, 2013.
Source: The Age – January 19, 2015