Faf du Plessis and Ab de Villiers have been friends since they were 15 and have grown into two of South Africa's most prolific batsmen. They are also two of the quickest members of their team. Yet, in three crucial games in global ODI tournaments, the pair have been involved in a run-out. On all three occasions, de Villiers was the man dismissed and each time, South Africa fell apart once he was gone.
The loud call in the big choke
New Zealand v South Africa, quarter-final, 2011 World Cup, Dhaka
South Africa were cruising into the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup before two quick wickets reduced them to 121 for 4 in their chase of 222 against New Zealand. With de Villiers and du Plessis at the wicket, there was still no need to panic; there were more than 20 overs in which to get the 101 remaining runs. But du Plessis worked the second ball he faced to the right of short midwicket and set off for a run. De Villiers, who was batting on 35, did not begin running immediately, but du Plessis could be heard desperately calling him through for the single. Despite a dive, de Villiers could not beat Martin Guptill's throw. South Africa never regained momentum and ended up folding for 172 in what is still considered one of their most disappointing losses in one-day cricket.
De Villiers overestimates his own speed
India v South Africa, Pool B match, 2015 World Cup, Melbourne
In their second game of the 2015 World Cup, South Africa were chasing 308 against India. De Villiers and du Plessis had put on 68 and taken South Africa to 108 for 2 in 22.4 overs when de Villiers drove Ravindra Jadeja to sweeper cover and decided to take on Mohit Sharma's arm and come back for a second run. A fast and accurate throw from Mohit found him short of the crease. There was no real misunderstanding between the batting pair in this instance. It was merely a case of de Villiers misjudging whether he could get back for the second run. After the dismissal, South Africa collapsed to 177 all out. The loss didn't hurt them too much, however, as they made it to the knockout stage.
India get de Villiers again
India v South Africa, Group B match, 2017 Champions Trophy, The Oval
This time, both de Villiers and du Plessis set off for the single as soon as the shot was played. But they were both wrong about it being on. South Africa were 140 for 2 against India in a 2017 Champions Trophy game that both sides had to win to make it to the semi-finals. South Africa started slowly, so de Villiers and du Plessis needed to infuse the innings with some urgency. But when de Villiers tapped a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to Hardik Pandya at point, there was never a single on. Neither batsmen recognised that, and an accurate throw from Pandya meant another de Villiers dive went in vain. The dismissal sparked a collapse that left South Africa 191 all out.