AB de Villiers, speaking alongside his former South Africa teammate JP Duminy on the The Super Over podcast, recalled the time he was troubled by a rampaging Stuart Broad in the 2016 Test series at home, and decided to give it back to the bowler in the one-dayers that followed.
Duminy heaped praise on de Villiers’ knack of putting pressure on the opposition almost as soon as he got on the pitch, and cited the 2016 Johannesburg ODI against England as an example, when de Villiers took apart an in-form Broad from the get go.
“We were playing against England at the Wanderers,” Duminy said, “and Stuart Broad was bowling and I was defending, just trying to get the partnership going. AB walks in, double steps him [Broad] and hits him straight over his head, like, in the first few balls, and I am like, ‘Jeepers, OK!’ And we come together, and I was like, ‘Yo, Abraham! What happened there?’
“He’s like, ‘No! Need to make sure I am letting him know that I am here.’ You talk about belief, we were speaking about Virat [Kohli], and I think that was the difference. He [de Villiers] certainly had this ability to transfer pressure in an amazing way, and be consistent with it because a lot of us will try and do it. But the word he mentioned there [earlier] was commitment, that in those moments when he made decisions, there was no holding back, [whether it was] sweeping somebody or coming down the wicket, that commitment was fully there.”
De Villiers was coming in on the back of a sub-par Test series, where he had totalled 210 runs in seven innings with just one fifty-plus score. He was dismissed by Broad thrice in four Tests, including two ducks.
“It’s right when you say it, and Broad was completely over me in that Test series couple of weeks prior to the ODIs,” de Villiers said. “I was definitely feeling pressure from his side, he was bowling with amazing skill throughout the series. He had me jumping all over the place, he was actually on top of me. I had to do something. I decided in the ODI series that I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
Chasing 263 to win the game, de Villiers and Duminy dug in to make a solid recovery, but their 58-run stand met with a sudden and unfortunate end.
“Amazing fightback from JP and I, we got it back there. Fifty partnership … and then he ran me out! You remember that? Chris Woakes [is the bowler], rolled it [the ball] right back at Woakes, and he’s like, ‘Yeah’ [for a run]. He’s halfway down the wicket, I am like ‘OK’. I am fifty off 25 balls [36 off 26], I am seeing the ball like a balloon … at least we won that game.”
“I was trying to get the limelight dude,” Duminy replied. “He’s been getting the limelight for years, come on man!”