Ireland go into Tuesday’s World Cup clash against South Africa in Canberra, Australia faced with a question that even Test nations have struggled to find an answer for.
How does one stop the rampaging AB de Villiers before he destroys the rivals’ bowling attack, dents their morale and leaves them dumbstruck by what just hit them?
The West Indies once more suffered at the hands of the South African captain who, despite a stomach illness, smashed 162 off 66 balls with 17 boundaries and eight sixes in Sydney on Friday to lead his team to a 257-run win.
It was against the same team that de Villiers smashed the fastest one-day century off 31 balls at home in January. Former Australian batsman Adam Gilchrist called him the “most valuable cricketer on the planet.”
The Proteas, as the South African cricket team is known, were one of the pre-tournament favourites. But the needed their 31-year-old captain to steady the ship after they were stunned by
De Villiers was run out for 30 in that match by a brilliant throw from the deep by Mohit Sharma. It must make
But the proud Irish, whose cricket has developed rapidly under their West Indian coach Phil Simmons, will look to run the mighty Proteas closely after winning their first two games in the tournament.
Simmons, the former
“It excited me the way we played against the
If other results go their way, even one win from their four remaining games against
However, past records favour
With de Villiers’ team almost certain to qualify for the knock-out rounds, Steyn will be needed to be at his best if South Africa are to have a shot at their first World Cup title.
An unlikely bowling hero for the Proteas is leg-spinner Imran Tahir, whose nine wickets so far is only behind the