West Indies v South Africa, Super Eights, Grenada

de Villiers prospers as Windies sink to new depths

S Rajesh and HR Gopalakrishna

April 10, 2007

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Ten overs into the game, West Indies would have been very happy with their performance in the field - South Africa had managed just 36 and had lost their captain to a wild slog. Then AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis took over, and from then only one team did all the running.

de Villiers and Kallis laid the foundation for a huge score, and the partnership between Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher finished off the job quite splendidly, adding a mind-boggling 134 in the last ten overs. West Indies were also badly hurt by the last two Powerplays: they leaked 50 in the second one, from overs 11 to 15, while the third one - delayed, quite inexplicably, till the 45th over - cost them a whopping 77.

How South Africa scored their runs
First 10 overs 11-40 overs Last 10 overs
36 runs, 1 wicket 186 runs, 1 wicket 134 runs, 2 wickets

The 170-run stand between de Villiers and Kallis was exceptional for the way in which they shared the strike and the run-scoring responsibilities - Kallis faced one ball more than de Villiers, and scored five fewer runs. Neither batsman played too many dot balls, which meant there was little respite for the bowlers. The result was a partnership which is the highest for the second wicket for South Africa in World Cups, going past the previous record of 116 between Hansie Cronje and Gary Kirsten against UAE in 1996. It's also the highest second-wicket stand against West Indies in World Cups, breaking a record which stood for 28 years - Zaheer Abbas and Majid Khan had added 166 at The Oval in 1979.

How de Villiers and Kallis scored their runs during the stand
Batsman Dot balls 1s 2s/ 3s 4s/ 6s Runs/ Balls
AB de Villiers 37 31 7/ 1 8/ 1 86/ 85
Jacques Kallis 41 26 11/ 1 6/ 1 81/ 86

Kallis has often been criticised for scoring slowly and allowing bowlers to dominate, but that clearly wasn't the case today - off the 69 good-length balls he faced, he scored 65 runs. Both Kallis and de Villiers attacked the bowling regardless of the length - they smashed ten fours and two sixes off good-length deliveries - and the intent to attack clearly threw the West Indian bowlers off their rhythm.

The lengths Kallis and de Villiers scored off during their stand
Length Balls Runs 4s/ 6s
Full length 22 20 2/ 0
Good length 135 125 10/ 2
Short 14 18 2/ 0

The star of the show was de Villiers, who notched up his maiden ODI hundred. His scores in the World Cup read 0, 62, 92, 0, 0, 15, and 146, which suggests that he has a 75% chance of getting at least a half-century when gets off the mark. Most of the West Indian bowlers struggled to keep him in check, but the two who did were Corey Collymore and Ian Bradshaw: in 54 deliveries from them, de Villiers only scored 30 (3.33 per over); against the rest, he slammed 116 runs from 76 balls (9.16 per over).

This was the seventh ODI hundred against West Indies in World Cups, and interestingly, three have been scored in this tournament, with de Villiers emulating Sanath Jayasuriya and Matthew Hayden. Here's further proof of just how far the West Indian bowling has fallen: they've conceded 300-plus runs three times in this tournament, while the 356 scored by South Africa - their highest in World Cups - is the most number of runs scored against West Indies in ODIs.

Other highlights

  • Daren Powell's unbeaten 48 is the highest score by a No.10 batsman in World Cups, and the third-highest in all ODIs - Douglas Marillier's unbeaten 56 against India is the highest, while Irfan Pathan scored 50 against New Zealand at Bulawayo in 2005.

  • The 41-run stand between Powell and Bradshaw equals the highest ninth-wicket stand for West Indies in World Cups: Wayne Daniel and Michael Holding had added the same number of runs against Australia at Headingley in 1983.

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    S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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