What’s the Story?
Playing in his first competitive game since July 2016, South Africa’s AB de Villiers scored a match-winning century for his domestic side Northerns against Easterns in the CSA Provincial One-Day Challenge match at Benoni. Chasing 200, the 32-year-old’s 103-ball 134 helped them chase the target of 200 with 19.3 overs to spare.
Chasing 200 for victory, AB de Villiers, who will play in the third T20I against Sri Lanka came in at No.3 in the first over and started patiently before accelerating as the innings carried on. He got to his century off 87 balls and with the target within touching distance he finished the game with two sixes and helped his side cruise home with nearly 20 overs to spare.
Extra Cover: AB de Villiers opts out of England Test series
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Earlier in the game, Northerns captain Thomas Kaber won the toss and elected to field. It turned out to be the right decision as the Northerns bowlers picked up wickets at crucial intervals and never let the Easterns get away. Although no bowler took more than two wickets, they kept things tight and bowled them out for 199 in 45.3 overs.
Although the Northerns lost opener J Vandiar in the first ball of their innings, from the moment he walked in, it was the AB de Villiers show as he guided the chase using all of his experience. His unbeaten century helped them get to 200/2 in just 30.3 overs.
The heart of the matter
This was AB de Villiers’ first game of the year and his comeback match after missing six months. His last game before this match was in the Caribbean Premier League for Barbados Tridents in July 2016 when he scored a 22-ball 32 against St. Lucia Zouks in a game which Tridents won by 25 runs.
He had earlier confirmed that he would take part in IPL 2017 but that he would take things slow as far as Tests are concerned as he ruled himself out of contention for the series against New Zealand in March and England in July-August.
Although South Africa are currently taking on Sri Lanka in the T20I series with a largely second-string side, AB is set to make his international comeback in the final T20I against the visitors on January 25. And with a century on his domestic comeback, he is certainly in good form, going into a crunch game for the Proteas.
AB de Villiers has chosen to take a measured approach to his comeback and ease himself into the rigours of international cricket and his century on his comeback will certainly do his confidence a world of good.
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