Johannesburg: South Africa one-day cricket captain AB de Villiers dominated the headlines on the front pages of the country’s newspapers today after his record-breaking performance in the match against visiting West Indies at Wanderers Stadium here.
“Atom Bomb” read the headline in the Afrikaans daily Beeld; while the daily ‘The New Age’ titled its story “Easy as AB(C)De Villiers”.
‘The Star’ used his initials to describe his performance as “Absolutely Brilliant”.
De Villiers’s knock of 149 off 44 balls including 16 sixes helped South Africa reach 439 for two and better their own record of 438 against Australia at the same venue in 2006.
With 16 sixes, de Villiers has now equalled the record set by India’s Rohit Sharma.
Hashim Amla hit 153 not out and Rilee Rossouw 128, beating a 15-year record set by former Proteas Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs.
Gibbs, who was the star when his knock took the Proteas to victory against Australia in 2006, was ecstatic about de Villiers beating that record.
“It was out of this world!” Gibbs told Beeld. “It brought back wonderful memories of my innings (of 175) and I got goosebumps.”
Former captain Shaun Pollock and retired paceman Makhaya Ntini concurred with Gibbs’ view, describing the match as one that was unlikely to be repeated.
De Villiers said he did not even want to come out and bat yesterday.
“I actually wanted David Miller to go in to bat if a wicket fell,” De Villiers said.
But coach Russell Domingo was adamant that the captain go in.
De Villiers’ score also helped raise R114,000 of the total R210,000 during the match for breast cancer advocacy projects as the Proteas played in all-pink gear in support of the venture.
Wanderers Stadium was a sea of pink as fans rallied to the call to wear the colour in support of Breast Cancer awareness.