Missed cricket badly: de Villiers after scoring 24-ball fifty in 3TC match

AB de Villiers
Live cricket has made a comeback in South Africa with a never-before-seen 3TC format after almost four months of the coronavirus-forced break. The 3TC match also saw the return of swashbuckling batsman AB de Villiers, who is eyeing a national comeback after announcing retirement just ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup, at the Supersports Park in Centurion on Saturday. 

Aiden Markram and AB de Villiers starred with the bat to lead their Eagles side to victory in the inaugural, experimental three-team Solidarity Cup fixture. Markram (70 from 33 balls) and De Villiers (61 from 24) helped the Eagles to 160 for four in their 12 overs, convincingly beating the Kites (138 for three) and Kingfishers (113 for five).

AB de Villiers was pleasantly surprised to discover he had not lost his touch after scoring a swashbuckling half-century. There was no rustiness as the player, celebrated for his '360-degree' batting prowess, showed his masterclass.

“It was quick, fast and fun. I was very happy to play cricket after such a long time. It was great fun and I always enjoy coming out on top. I just followed my instinct, such as watching the bowler's arm. When I started playing shots, it really felt well. It was like riding the bike again. I missed it badly, so I am glad that I did well,” said de Villiers after the match.

“I just wanted to go out there and play cricket. I will try to keep my form at top level. I don't know what to expect in the near future but I will make sure to keep myself fit and keep hitting the cricket ball,” he added.

AB de Villiers has played 228 One Day Internationals (ODI) before announcing his retirement and amassed 9577 runs at an average of 53.6 and a strike rate of 101.1, including 25 centuries and 53 fifties. His highest individual score in ODIs is 176. He also holds the record of scoring fastest century in ODI as he took only 31 balls to reach the milestone.

He has played 78 T20 Internationals and scored 1672 runs South Africa at an average of 26.12 and a strike rate of 135.17, including 10 fifties.

ABD currently represents Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Indian Premier League (IPL). He has played 154 IPL matches so far and scored 4395 runs at an average of 39.95 abd a strike rate of 151.24, including 33 fifties and three hundreds. His highest individual score in IPL is 133 runs.

First TV sporting event in South Africa

It was the first major televised sporting event in South Africa since the coronavirus lockdown in March when the Proteas were forced to return home, cutting short the three-ODI series in India. While the first match in Dharamsala was washed off, the South Africans rushed back home as cases of the novel Covid-19 virus started shooting up and international travel across the globe came to an unprecedented halt.

ALSO READ: Team AB de Villiers wins 1st 3TCricket as live cricket returns to S Africa

Cricket in times of Black Lives Matter movement

The 3T series also holds significance after 30 black former South African international players including the likes of Makhaya Ntini, Herschelle Gibbs and Vernon Philander alleged in a letter that racism still affected the sport. The 24 players involved in Saturday’s were united in wearing Black Lives Matter armbands.

Before the play started, there was a minute of silence for victims of the Covid-19 virus followed by all the players taking a knee in solidarity with the BLM movement. “The most important thing was solidarity. South Africa showed the world that we can stick together as a nation and for me that is the most ultimate thing,” said De Villiers.

The match was played with the twin aims of raising money for charity and providing the country’s leading players with some cricket under the Covid-19 lockdown. “Playing cricket was fun but the most important thing was the funds we raised to feed the hungry all across the country, who are suffering because of Covid-19. It was a cherry on the cake,” De Villiers signed off.

WATCH: AB de Villiers fastest ODI hundred video

 


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