By now, you would have received the run-down of AB de Villiers’ ODI records. Fastest hundred, fastest 150, most sixes in an innings, etcetera, etcetera. The purity of AB’s striking has made him deadly effective in the finishing stages of an innings.
AB now has 942 runs in World Cup games at 58.87 per pop collected at an impressive strike rate of 112.
And yet, there’s one stat which fails him: his performance against the big teams. In fact, this pairs perfectly with the larger narrative of South Africa underperforming in big World Cup matches.
AB has four World Cup hundreds, three against the West Indies, one against the Netherlands. But take away his performances against the weaker teams—West Indies, Scotland, Ireland, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Zimbabwe—and what do we have then?
He has 291 runs in 10 innings against Australia, India, Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand, in which his World Cup average halves to 29.
This includes failures in key games: the 2007 semifinal and the 2011 quarterfinal, revealing the tendency of South Africa's key players to get spooked in the knockouts.
However, this doesn't pair with AB's recent streak of scores in must-win ODIs outside the World Cup. In November, he had 91 off 88 against Australia in a must-win game at the MCG. In a similar situation against Pakistan in Port Elizabeth, he had 74 off 45.
But, by most measures, AB is the best all-round batsman in the world today. Trust him to set this anomaly in his World Cup stats right very soon.