Captain A B de Villiers struck his career-best 162 not out from just 66 balls in a sensational display of batting pyrotechnics as South Africa posted World Cup’s second highest ever total of 408 for five against a hapless West Indies in their group league match here today.
Electing to bat, South Africa made a cautious but solid start with Hashim Amla (65 off 88 balls) and Faf du Plessis (62 off 70 balls) scoring sedate half centuries before swashbuckling de Villiers took over as he treated the capacity Sydney Cricket Ground crowd an unbelievable show of boundary hitting.
He hit 17 fours and eight sixes in his explosive unbeaten innings after coming at the fall of Amla’s wicket in the 30th over at team total of 146 for three as South Africa scored 150 runs from the final 10 overs to reach 408 for five, the second highest in any World Cup behind India’s 413 for five against Bermuda in Port-of-Spain in 2007.
31-year-old de Villiers, who holds the record of fastest ever ODI hundred from just 31 balls, today notched up the second quicket century in any World Cup with his 52-ball ton, missing by just two balls from the 50-ball effort by Kevin O’Brien against England in 2011 edition.
De Villiers was particularly harsh against West Indies captain and pacer Jason Holder whom he hit for 34 runs — four boundaries and two sixes — in the 48th over which had two no-ball free hits. This was the second most runs scored in an over in a World Cup, behind Herschelle Gibbs’ 36 against the Netherlands in the 2007 edition.
The rampaging South African captain also smashed Holder for 30 runs in the final over with the help a boundary and four sixes. His strokemaking prowess was such that he took just 12 balls to reach 150 from 100.
25-year-old World Cup debutant Rilee Rossouw also made a strokeful 39-ball 61, studded with six fours and a six, and he competed in boundary hitting with his captain for a while before being the fourth man out. He shared 134 runs with de Villiers for the fourth wicket from just 12.3 overs.
The hapless West Indian bowlers were thrashed all over the park with Holder conceding 104 runs for one wicket from his 10 overs while left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn bled 79 runs without any success. Andre Russell and Chris Gayle took wickets apiece.