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Centuries in Twenty20s are always special. AB de Villiers hit one of those sparkling tons in the Indian Premier League 2009 season held in South Africa. Abhijit Banare looks back at the unbeaten blazing knock from De Villiers for Delhi Daredevils.
Much before David Miller popularised ’In the arc out of the park’ style of batting, there was a more elegant version of it. He too was a South African, but right handed — AB de Villiers. There are many ways to slog the ball, but de Villiers makes it a pleasing sight. Those were the days when de Villiers’ strike-rate in eight Indian Premier League matches was a mere 97. In South African conditions, IPL teams were sure to play their best South African players. De Villiers was anyway one of the better batsmen in the ranks.
Delhi in a precarious situation
After winning the toss, Delhi’s famed openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were relaxing in the dugout within a matter of minutes. Gambhir was dismissed during the first ball of the match by Laxmipathy Balaji caught behind, and Sehwag was out trying to pull Manpreet Gony in the next over and was caught by Albie Morkel. This brought two of Delhi’s overseas batsmen at the crease — Tillakaratne Dilshan and De Villiers. There was some swing on offer, but the flat deck was never going to threaten the batsmen despite the fall of quick wickets. In the fourth over, De Villiers made his presence felt with short of length delivery hoicked for a huge six over midwicket.
Even before De Villiers could take off, Dilshan was busy thrashing the bowlers. By the eighth over, Dilshan had galloped to a 24-ball 50, that included seven boundaries and two sixes. It was after the Sri Lankan got out in the next over that de Villiers and Dinesh Karthik looked to steady the innings. The South African batsman was as fluent as one could see in T20s, picking singles at will and converting them into twos more frequently.
It was not until the dismissal of Karthik that de Villiers opened up. By the 15th over, he was on 48 from 34 balls. From thereon, Manoj Tiwary and the umpires had great fun watching De Villiers send the ball over the ropes more frequently. The hallmark of De Villiers’ innings has always been that he doesn’t miss out on any opportunity to hammer the loose deliveries and then targets the good ones as well. What makes it easy for him to hit those good deliveries is his ability to pick the length early. Even today when he hits those scoop shots for sixes, it’s more about reading the mind and improvising after watching the length. In this innings De Villiers played shots more so in front of the wicket.
Dropped catch: In the 16th over, Gony bowled a length ball and De Villiers tried to get underneath it to dispatch it for a maximum. But it didn’t come off from the meat of his bat and flew towards long-on, where Albie Morkel settled himself hopping two steps to his left. But Morkel tried to casually take the catch and the ball popped out of his hands. De Villiers had just completed his half-century in 35 balls. And from thereon, 55 runs were scored in the 19 deliveries he faced.
In the last quarter of the innings, De Villiers went after the bowlers and scored a boundary and a six in the next two overs before the big bonanza over came against Andrew Flintoff.
In the 19th over bowled by the England all-rounder, De Villiers’ onslaught saw him score 21 runs in five balls. He reached 99 with a pull shot that went for a maximum. And he finally completed the ton with a single on the leg-side. Undoubtedly, one of the most effortless tons seen in IPL. In the 105-run fifth wicket stand with Tiwary, De Villiers scored 96 of those, while the Bengal batsman scored nine from 13 balls. Delhi posted a challenging total of 189. His unbeaten innings of 105 from 54 balls included six sixes and five fours.
What happened next
Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina launched an onslaught and Chennai were cruising at one stage. Hayden was brutal, scoring his fifty in 22 deliveries. He picked Avishkar Salvi for some special treatment hammering three sixes and a four in his first two overs. Salvi was the most expensive bowler in the innings conceding 41 in three. Raina too scored aggressively, but once he went back after a 27-ball 41, Chennai’s chase lost momentum and Delhi managed to defend the total, winning by nine runs.
Delhi Daredevils 189 for 5 in 20 overs (AB de Villiers 105*, Tillakaratne Dilshan; Laxmipathy Balaji 3 for 19) beat Chennai Super Kings 180 for 9 in 20 overs (Matthew Hayden 57, Suresh Raina 41; Pradeep Sangwan 3 for 28) by 9 runs.
Man of the Match: AB de Villiers
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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