South Africa’s batting genius AB de Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday. The legendary batter had already retired from international cricket a few years back but continued to display his talent in franchise cricket. He was a massive hit in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and one of the biggest stars in the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batting line-up. In a stunning T20 career, he smashed 9424 runs in 340 matches at an excellent strike rate of 150.13 with four hundreds. In the wake of his decision to quit the sport, we look back at ABD’s standout knocks in franchise cricket.
1.133 not out vs Mumbai Indians – IPL 2015
In the 46th match of IPL 2015 between RCB and Mumbai Indians (MI) in Mumbai, De Villiers was in incredible form. He faced only 59 balls yet ended up with 133* against his name, spanking 19 fours and four sixes, scoring at a strike rate of 225.42. De Villiers and skipper Virat Kohli (82* off 50) featured in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 215 as the South African, in particular, was unstoppable. The MI bowlers had utterly forgettable figures. Mitchell McClenaghan went for 40 in his four, Jasprit Bumrah was hammered for 52 while Hardik Pandya gave away 51 in only three overs. MI put up a decent performance in the chase but still ended up losing by 39 runs.
2. 105 not out vs Chennai Super Kings – IPL 2009
De Villiers scored a stunning hundred, his first in the IPL, for Delhi Daredevils against Chennai Super Kings in the ninth match of the 2009 edition in Durban. DD batted first in the game and ABD blasted a splendid 105 off only 54 balls, hitting five fours and six sixes. He was sedated during the first half of the innings but shifted gears after being dropped by fellow South African Albie Morkel, racing from 79 to 100 in five balls. Tillakaratne Dilshan also contributed 50 in 27 as DD posted 189 for 5. CSK went hard in the chase but DD emerged victorious by nine runs.
3. 89 not out vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – IPL 2014
The beauty of the IPL is that it pits greats of the same team against each other. SRH seemed to be in control defending a target of 156. With two overs left, RCB needed 28 to win in match number 24 of IPL 2014 in Bengaluru. Dale Steyn bowled the penultimate over and De Villiers spanked him for three sixes and a four, killing all SRH’s hopes in a matter of minutes. ABD returned unconquered on 89 off 41 with the help of six fours and eight sixes as RCB got home with one ball to spare. During IPL 2012 as well, De Villiers had taken Steyn for 23 in an over. On that occasion, Steyn was representing Deccan Chargers.
4. 73 not out vs Kolkata Knight Riders – IPL 2020
Although De Villiers scored his runs at a breathtaking speed more often than not, he was by no means a flat-track bully. If anything, he was a genius of a different kind. One of his outstanding knocks came during the IPL 2020 edition against KKR in Sharjah. On a slow surface where batters from both sides, including Kohli, struggled to time the ball, De Villiers batted as if he was on a different pitch. He clobbered 73* in only 33 balls, clubbing five fours and six sixes. De Villiers lifted RCB to an impressive 194 for 2. KKR could only manage 112 for 9 in response as Bangalore won by 82 runs.
5. 63 vs St Kitts and Nevis Patriots – CPL 2016
Representing Barbados Tridents against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2016, De Villiers scored 63 in only 33 deliveries. It was an excellent knock as it came in a challenging chase of 163. The Tridents were in a spot of bother at 45 for 2, having lost Steven Taylor and Wayne Parnell cheaply. However, De Villiers took them home with yet another match-winning innings. The South African run machine hit five fours and three sixes and featured in a third-wicket stand of 63 with Shoaib Malik (54). Tridents were 144 for 3 after 17 overs. De Villiers slammed the first two deliveries of the 18th over for sixes to swing the match completely the way of the Tridents. The chasing side won by seven wickets with eight balls in hand.
6. 71 vs Melbourne Stars – BBL 2019/20
De Villiers was in brilliant form for Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars in the 53rd match of the BBL 2019/20 season at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Heat batted first and De Villiers, coming in at the number four position, whacked 71 in only 37 balls. De Villiers hit two fours and six sixes during his innings, which came at a strike rate of 191.89. The South African was batting on 13 off 16 before turning the heat on quite literally. He hit consecutive sixes off Clint Hinchliffe before pounding Glenn Maxwell and Dilbar Hussain as well. He was out on the last ball but Heat posted an impressive 186 for 5 and eased to victory by 71 runs.
7. 52 vs Multan Sultans – PSL 2019
De Villiers made his mark in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as well. Representing Lahore Qalandars during the 2019 edition, he blasted a blistering 52* off 29 to help the franchise chase down a target of 201. ABD was batting on 28 off 18 after 17 overs with Lahore Qalandars at 160 for 4. The South African then slapped Junaid Khan for two sixes in the 18th over. Another six came in the next over from Andre Russell as De Villiers raced to 50 in 26 balls. David Wiese (45* off 20) slammed a six off the last ball bowled by Dan Christian to seal a famous win for Lahore Qalandars.