AB De Villiers took the England attack by the scruff of the neck to play one of the legendary innings of T20 International cricket to lead South Africa to a three-run victory in what amounted to a quarter-final at the ICC World Twenty20 at Chittagong on Saturday. The result means that the Proteas qualify for the semi-final from Group A along with either Sri Lanka or New Zealand while England cannot reach the knock-out phase regardless of the outcome of their final match against the Netherlands.
It was the third time in-a-row that the Proteas had gone right to the wire to clinch victory although they had a bit more in hand this time than the result suggests. Dale Steyn had 22 runs to defend in the final over and England needed 10 off the last ball.
But none of that would have been possible without the magnificent innings of De Villiers, who made an unbeaten 69 off 28 balls with 3 sixes and 9 fours, and built on the excellent platform laid by Hashim Amla (56 off 37 balls, 6 fours and 2 sixes) and Quinton de Kock, who put on 90 for the first wicket in 10.5 overs. (Highlights | Points Table)
The damage to the England attack reached a climax in the last three overs that went for 26, 15 and 14 runs respectively for a cumulative total of 55 runs. The total of 196 was the highest made in the tournament to date. (Match in pics)
Following are the highlights of De Villiers' innings:
# De Villiers (69 not out off 28 balls) posted his first fifty in nine innings against England in T20Is, eclipsing the 24 off 13 balls at Centurion on November 15, 2009.
# De Villiers' innings was his second highest in T20Is, next only to the 79 not out off 34 balls vs Scotland at The Oval on June 7, 2009.
# De Villiers' fifth fifty in T20Is is his fourth at the World Twenty20 -- one each against Scotland, England, India and Pakistan.
# De Villiers' 23-ball fifty is the quickest by a South African batsman in T20Is, bettering Morne van Wyk's 24-ball fifty against India at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban on January 9, 2011. The fastest in all T20Is is 12 balls, by Yuvraj Singh.
# De Villiers and David Miller were involved in a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket. The run rate of 12.96 is their fourth highest in T20Is.