When AB De Villiers bats he makes it look as easy as breathing for us mere mortals – such is the sheer, ridiculous batting fluency of the best batsman in world cricket.
Against West Indies in Sydney, De Villiers finally found his groove at this ICC Cricket World cup 2015, and boy was it pretty as a Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rembrandt combined.
Coming to the crease after South Africa lost two quick wickets – that of the two set batsmen, Faf Du Plessis and Hashim Amla – the skipper was under pressure to perform, and to his great credit Rilee Rossouw, also fresh at the crease, took the pressure of De Villiers completely with an innings, and then some.
That allowed De Villiers to get settled and pick those singles and twos like he likes to do early on, as Rossouw went hammer and tongs at the other end.
With barely any effort, De Villiers moved to 36 from 26 at the end of the 39th over as South Africa made merry in the Batting Powerplay, and then with a smash over extra cover, a whip through midwicket and another smack over cover the captain reached his half-century, in just 30 balls; from there it was carnage – wonderful, easy on the eye, carnage.
In the blink of an eye, he was already halfway there to another hundred – he would get to his hundred using up only 22 more deliveries -- and as Rossouw fell at the other end, after his brilliant 61 (39b, 6x4, 1x6), it was time for De Villiers to take centre-stage.
Out came more of those cover drives, surgically hit through the gaps, those smashes to the leg side, hit at will, those paddle sweeps past short fine leg which went for sixes, those reverse-sweeps which befuddles the bowlers and those 360 degree shots that only De Villiers can play in this mortal world.
West Indies crumbled under the pressure put on by, first Rossouw, and then De Villiers, who was dropped three times, albeit after reaching his hundred, with the ball going all over the place. But you know even if the bowlers had hit their marks in the final 10 overs, De Villiers would have found a way to smash it to the crowd – that is just how good he is.
All that pent up frustration from the loss to India was taken out on the West Indies bowlers, who went to pieces in the face of the De Villiers assault (who wouldn't), as he finished the match with four sixes and a four, not by bludgeoning like Chris Gayle does, but with that easy as pie feeling, and all that while cramping up in the final five overs.
While Gayle is powerfully brutal, De Villiers is elegantly brutal, that finesse and "man that was gorgeous" feeling coming to the fore; both are equally effective, but ABD always gives you that feeling of "Ah how I want to be in that stadium watching this in the flesh" every time he wields that blade.
And on Friday, at the SCG it was another one of those days, with De Villiers, courtesy his 162 in 66 balls (17x4, 8x6) as he helped South Africa pile up 408 for five -- their highest ever in a World Cup match, the second highest ever in the CWC and the highest ever by any team on Australian soil -- almost telling his RCB teammate Gayle: "Alright big man, I have done my bit, over to you now."
Gayle needed to answer in kind, for West Indies to even come anywhere close to notching their third straight CWC 2015 win, but it was not to be as the left-hander and the Windies flopped, getting bowled out for just 151, with Imran Tahir gleefully grabbing a five-for for himself.
Get the full scorecard of the match HERE