AB de Villiers is a genius, and the whole world knows that. The scary part, however, is that it’s difficult to say just how much better he can get.
The South African is modest at most times, but even he didn’t think his 59-ball unbeaten 133 against Mumbai Indians was the best innings of his career. Still, it was a remarkable performance that had the spectators salivating and asking for more.
He smashed 92 of those 133 runs in boundaries, sweeping pace bowlers, lofting yorkers down the ground and playing on-the-up lofted cover drives to slower deliveries. To say that it was the purest exhibition of high-octane batting would be an understatement.
De Villiers can do things which most batsmen cannot imagine doing even if they practised it every day. His second IPL century is also the third highest individual score in the tournament’s history, and certainly one of the most memorable.
Through the course of his career, De Villiers has crafted several magical moments that don’t fade away, much like the Axe Signature range. However, he hasn’t exactly shown his best form in the IPL, at least not the form that he regularly turns up in when playing for South Africa. The best batsman in the world by a distance has rarely featured in the IPL’s top run-getters’ list or in the top highest individual scores’ list.
The fact that De Villiers has often been wasted as a finisher by his IPL teams has left most of his fans depressed. But Royal Challengers Bangalore have finally decided to give him the time he deserves in the middle, and how well that has been working for them.
All that said, De Villiers has still managed to create several unforgettable IPL memories in the past with his brilliant bat. Here are three of his most memorable innings that have rocked the tournament:
105*(54) vs Chennai Super Kings, Durban, 2009
On one of the rare occasions when he actually walked out to bat as early as No. 3, De Villiers smashed one of only two centuries in IPL 2009. His unbeaten 105 came in just 54 balls, at a strike-rate of 194, with five fours and six sixes. And this wasn’t on a flat track in the subcontinent either; the blistering knock came on the quick and lively Durban pitch in South Africa.
Interestingly, De Villiers walked in at number three, and soon after his arrival Delhi Daredevils were struggling with just 8 runs on the board, for the loss of 2 wickets. Like he has done so many times in his international career though, he turned the game on its head with his inventive batting, taking the bowlers apart towards the death. He got stuck into Andrew Flintoff, smoking him for two sixes and two fours in the 19th over to take DD to 189 in their 20 overs.
Even the powerful CSK batting order couldn’t get to that daunting target, falling short by nine runs in spite of a Matthew Hayden blitz.