Doubting champions is never the sensible thing to do especially in a sport like cricket, which thrives on the brilliance of champions. One such champion, namely AB de Villiers once again reiterated to the world that he was here to stay, and here to rule the arena like a champion. For Bangladesh though, there was absolutely no respite, as de Villiers used his willow to great effect.
Batting first, South Africa were powered off to a solid start with Hashim Amla once again impressing with a crisp half century. Quinton De Kock though was unfortunate to miss out as he was dismissed for 43.
But the star of the day was de Villiers, who stunned Paarl with his phenomenal batting. As soon as he got in, Bangladesh missed a trick by not being fully aggressive and allowing the former skipper to get his eye in.
And once he got himself in, there was no looking back as an array of eye-catching hits radiated from the master batsman’s willow. In no time did he get to his half-century and converting that into three figures was an even easier task.
De Villiers was ultimately dismissed for a breathtaking and career-best score of 176 off just 104 deliveries. For Bangladesh, it was just Rubel Hossain who saved some grace with a four-wicket haul as de Villiers massacred everyone else.
Hopes were high on returning opener Tamim Iqbal, but he was dismissed quite early for 23. Barring the exception of opener Imrul Kayes and Mushfiqur Rahim, no other batsman displayed any will to chase as the visitors capitulated.
Needing 354 to win, Bangladesh didn’t seem like rising to the occasion and eventually lost the game by 104 runs with all bowlers chipping in for the Proteas. Post the loss, skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was full of praises for AB de Villiers and termed him as a “destroyer”.
“I think AB was too good,” Mashrafe said. “Shakib bowled well in the middle but after that AB took the game away from us. De Villiers is a destroyer. Today, he played one of his best innings. When he is in that sort of a form, as a bowler you have to be perfect else he will punish.”
“The credit goes to him. We will have to work hard in the next game. Everyday someone has stepped up, but not as a group. Hopefully, we will play hard in the next match,” he added.