“I’ve had my turn and to be honest I am tired. This is a tough decision and I have thought long and hard about it and I’d like to retire while still playing decent cricket.”
It is 2004 and a 20-year-old blonde hair boy walks on the Port Elizabeth pitch representing South Africa against England. With the scores of 28 and 14 in the 1stand the 2nd innings of the Test respectively, his batting position was changed from an opener to middle order batsmen.
The young boy finally showed his talent when he scored a match tier innings of 52 not out in the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test of the series. The boy never looked back then and always had something up his sleeves to entertain the cricket world.
The young boy back in 2004 was Abraham Benjamin de Villiers. As he has booted up, let’s have a look at some of the miraculous innings of that outstanding player:
AB de Villiers being Splendid in Tests:
- Majestic 106* at Perth (2008):
South Africa was chasing 414 and they were 179/3 against Australia. The very dangerous, AB de Villiers walked into the crease and South Africa really needed him to score at this stage. He didn’t disappoint his team and fans and scored a magnificent hundred. He was also a part of two 100 runs stand, one with the mighty Jacques Kallis and an unbeaten 111 run partnership with JP Duminy. His aggressive approach led South Africa to a win by six wickets over Australia.
- Miraculous batting at Headingley (2008):
It was South Africa vs England 2nd Test and South African bowlers had bowled England for just 203 runs. Nevertheless, they kept on losing wickets at consistent breaks which steered them to 143/4. Then it was time for AB de Villiers to join Ashwell Prince. South Africa really needed the two to step forward and deliver their best. As Prince cemented the partnership and AB scoring runs the duo added 212 runs to the scoreboard. Unfortunately, Prince was dismissed on 149 but de Villiers went on to score his 6th Test ton (174 runs) as South Africa posted 522 runs.
- Alien hits Pakistan in Abu Dhabi (2012):
Pakistan is a very unpredictable side on any ground and when they are playing a game on their own home ground nothing worse can’t be expected from the side. The Alien, AB de Villiers proved that wrong and scored a knock of 278* and helped his side declare the innings on 584/9. As a spectator one cannot forget that innings. It was one of the finest knocks of de Villiers. The match was drawn and he was awarded the Player of the Match.
- AB de Villiers to the rescue (2012):
South Africa was up against Australia and was on an edge of loss on the 5th day of the Test. 77/4 was their score when they started the last day when AB de Villiers walked in and stabilized the South African innings with Faf du Plessis to draw the Test which they would have ultimately lost. He faced 220 balls without hitting a four. A match saving knock from the majestic AB de Villiers.
- South Africa collapse and the AB show starts (2012):
South Africa was playing against New Zealand at Hamilton when Mark Gillespie had bowled a catastrophic spell to destroy the Proteas batting line up. He had already picked up a five-for and South Africa was 88/6 when the AB de Villiers show began. It’s never too easy to take your team out from the ruins of a collapse but in AB’s case, nothing was impossible. He took SA from 88/6 to 258 and his heroics made it possible for South Africa to win the Test. He scored 83 runs.
- Return to Test cricket (2018):
AB de Villiers was returning back to Test cricket after two years. He played against India and Australia in South Africa. It was expected from him that he will score a big knock to prove his worth again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t score big enough in the 1st Test and South Africa lost the contest. It is always said that AB has the capability and ability to perform at a crucial stage. He did what was expected of him. Australia was bowled out for 243 in the first innings. The South African top order didn’t click at the right time and they were 277/7 where AB was batting on 53 but he was not going to mislay faith and batted his heart out to take the scorecard from 277/7 to 328. The knock assisted South Africa to win the Test and level the series 1-1. This was AB de Villiers last Test innings also.
AB de Villiers ruling the ODI format:
- 103* against Pakistan in their den (2007):
It is never too easy to score against Pakistan and get yourself going. Pakistan had the likes of Sohail Tanvir and Umar Gul. Despite this fact, AB smashed the Pakistani bowlers in their home ground for a 95-ball astonishing 103*. He added 137 runs with Herschelle Gibbs as South Africa took the game away from Pakistan as they won by 45 runs. Makhaya Ntini.
- 360 to the rescue again (2010):
South Africa had lost the first two matches of a three-match ODI series against India. The final ODI was a formality for India as they had already won the series 2-0 but for South Africa, there was a light to make a comeback and save themselves from a whitewash. For that, they needed a star performance from their players and AB de Villiers didn’t disappoint. He along with Jacques Kallis scored a century apiece. AB de Villiers scored a fiery 102 of 59 deliveries posting a target of 365/2.
- The best of the best, 149 off 44 against the West Indies (2015):
It was the best of the best, nothing else. No one knew what was happening. Just AB hitting the ball all over the ground and not stopping. Not even thinking of stopping. The West Indies players were in an ultimate shock so were the fans that how great is his ability to change the game. How he comes out of his cave like a lion roaring each and every time. Yes, it was AB de Villiers who first stroked the fastest 50 (16 balls), then the fastest ODI hundred off just 31 balls at the Wanderers Stadium. The knock abled South Africa to set up a total of 439 runs and eventually taking the game away from the Windies.
- Thrashing India in their home ground (2015):
South Africa vs India series was leveled 2-2. The series decider was played at Mumbai in India. The stage was ready and players were ready to play their hearts out to win it for their teams. But there was one superstar who stole the show in all manners, Abraham Benjamin de Villiers. He scored 119 runs from just 61 balls, batting India out of the game and winning the match by 214 runs. He stroked eleven maximums and three fours, making it a perfect and elegant ODI inning.
- Taking it on the West Indies again in Sydney (2015):
It was the World Cup 2015 and South Africa was playing against West Indies at Sydney Cricket Ground. In 30 overs South Africa was lagging behind, 149/3 was their score when de Villiers joined the stage and continued his momentum from where he left at Wanderers Stadium and started thrashing West Indian bowlers all over the park. He controlled the bowlers in a manner in which only he can. His cataclysmic innings included seventeen fours and eight sixes to register the second fastest ODI hundred in World Cup history. South Africa recorded a target of 408 runs and obviously easily won the match.
- de Villiers storm at Harare (2014):
It was the Tri-series in Zimbabwe and the 2nd ODI was to be played between Australia and South Africa. Batting first, South Africa were 55-1 when Faf du Plessis was joined by AB de Villiers in the middle. de Villiers showed his class again and scored a calm but brilliant knock of 136 runs from 106 balls. That inning was not something usual you get to see AB delivering but it had its own class and temperament. South Africa won the match by 7 wickets and 20 balls remaining.
AB de Villiers was a player of his own. Sometimes he could do things that would shock the opponents as well as the spectators and sometimes AB would get surprised at what he had done. A pure gentleman of cricket, a very fine player, and a treat for everyone to watch him play, AB de Villiers will be missed.