Abraham Benjamin de Villiers is a type of cricketer that is born once in a millennium. He is one of the finest batsmen that the world of cricket has ever seen. His ability to hit boundaries to every part of the ground earned him the name of Mr. 360.
It is a matter of great sadness that AB de Villiers retired from international cricket on 23rd of May earlier this year. But thankfully we will be seeing him play in the IPL and other domestic tournaments. Mzansi Super League is one such tournament where he will be in action.
AB de Villiers will be playing for Tshwane Spartans, one of the six teams that will be participating in the inaugural T20 tournament, to be played in South Africa from November 16.
Before the tournament kicks off, let's take a look at the some of the best T20 knocks of AB de Villiers.
#5 89* vs SRH at Bengaluru in IPL, 2014.
Royal Challengers Bangalore weren't having a good IPL 2014. Their power-packed batting line-up didn't fire in the UAE leg of the tournament and this match against SRH was the first match at their home ground of Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to chase. SRH just managed to put on a total of 156. But RCB found themselves in a spot of bother chasing the below-par total. They lost Parthiv, Virat and Gayle in a quick succession.
AB de Villiers walked into bat when the score was 38-3 in 6.4 overs. Before this game, he wasn't having a great IPL but in this match, AB was in full flow. He was getting down on one knee and launching sixes at will. He had hit eight sixes in the innings along with six fours.
RCB needed 28 runs from the last two overs. Dale Steyn, who was bowling superbly in the match came to bowl the 19th over. AB de Villiers smashed 24 runs of that over and ensured a victory for his team.
Even Steyn had to applaud when AB scooped the last ball of his over to the second tier of the fine leg boundary. AB de Villiers was awarded the Man of the Match for his knock.
#4 71 vs England at Johannesburg, 2016.
It was the last match of the England tour of South Africa in 2016. South Africa had lost the test series, but won the ODI series and were leading the two-match T20 series by 1-0. A win would give them the T20 series.
Batting first, England had posted a total of 171 which looked competitive until AB de Villiers started his show. AB came to open the innings with Hashim Amla and made his intentions clear from the first ball itself by hitting it to the boundary.
AB de Villiers sent the ball into the stands and even into the parking lot. His innovative hitting at the Wanderers saw him make 71 off just 29 balls with six sixes and six fours.
As a result of the destructive batting display of AB de Villiers, South Africa reached the total in just 14.4 overs and won the match by nine wickets. Without a doubt, de Villiers was chosen as the player of the match.
#3 69 vs England at Chittagong in WT20, 2014.
AB de Villiers smashed the fastest half-century for South Africa at that time in this crucial match against England at Chittagong. It was a virtual quarter-final for South Africa in this World T20 match. His blistering knock of 69 from just 28 deliveries helped his team reach the semi-final.
Losing the toss South Africa were batting first and openers Hashim Amla and Quintin de Kock had given a good start. AB de Villiers had to carry forward the momentum and he just did that by smashing a half-century in just 23 balls.
AB's knock was characterized by decisive moves across the stumps and hitting it through the leg side. He had hit nine fours and three sixes in his innings and helped South Africa reach 196.
South Africa went on to win the match by three runs and de Villiers was given the Man of the Match award for his game-changing innings.
#2 133* vs MI at Wankhede in IPL, 2015.
In this match versus Mumbai Indians at Wankhede RCB put on a mammoth total of 235 on the board with the help of AB de Villiers' 133 not out off just 59 balls. It was one of the best innings in the history of IPL.
Such was the impact of the man in the match that Virat Kohli, who made 82 off 50 balls at a strike rate of 164.00 looked like a sidelight. AB de Villiers striked at a rate of 225.42 and knocked Mumbai out of the match.
AB hardly mishit a ball throughout his innings. He flitted around the crease and launched the ball to all parts of the ground. He made even the good deliveries look absolutely ordinary.
Surprisingly de Villiers hit more fours than sixes in this match. He hit a staggering amount of 19 fours in his inning and just the four sixes.
#1 129* vs Gujarat Lions at Chinnaswamy in IPL, 2016.
It was just one of those nights in Chinnaswamy when AB de Villiers was at his freaking best. He made batting look ridiculously easy and left the Gujarat bowlers clueless.
Batting first, RCB made a humongous 248 runs with the help of centuries from AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. Both of them were showing their batting might and Gujarat Lions were shell-shocked.
De Villiers made an unbeaten 129 off just 52 balls. His innings was decorated with 10 fours and 12 huge sixes. He was hitting the balls into the roof of Chinnaswamy stadium with great ease.
For most of the RCB innings, de Villiers took the center stage and Virat supported him. AB unleashed his full repertoire of shots in the match. His shots mainly included varieties of sweeps, lofts and drives, and no part of the ground was spared.
As a result of such batting carnage, RCB won the match by a huge margin of 144 runs. AB de Villiers was given the Man of the Match award for his magical innings.