South Africa were struggling after a sluggish start, having lost Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis cheaply, when AB de Villiers took guard. As he had done against West Indies, de Villiers checked in with a surge of immaculate boundaries, flicking and cutting Ryan ten Doeschate for fours in the 18th over. They were shots of intent that changed the complexion of the game, ending a period of nearly ten overs in which South Africa's only boundary was an inside edge to fine leg.

Having sparked South Africa's innings back to life, de Villiers went on to expose Netherlands' limitations, leaving the accumulation to Hashim Amla and throwing punches in all directions. He looted boundaries in all but two of the overs between 27 and 35, pinging boundaries in a comprehensive arc from third man to midwicket, with shots ranging from the reverse sweep to the slapped flick. While his improvisation was top class, the hallmark of his innings remained the trademark crunched cover-drives whenever the bowlers over-pitched.

Netherlands enjoyed a boundary-drought between overs 36 and 41, but it was clearly a case of the batsmen calibrating their guns for a final assault. de Villiers began the carnage by lapping Pieter Seelar for the first six of the innings, before reaching his century off 88 balls. His next ten deliveries brought him 34 runs, as he smashed Bernard Loots for three successive sixes and then Ryan ten Doeschate for a hat-trick of fours. Netherlands managed to dismiss both batsmen in quick succession, but it was scarce solace as the Powerplay went for 69 thanks to de Villiers' violent innings. South Africa finished with 351, and unfortunately for Netherlands, they did not have Kevin O'Brien in their ranks.