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Friday, Dec 13th

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South Africa’s AB de Villiers has achieved a career-best second position on the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, while a seven-wicket victory in the Abu Dhabi Test has guaranteed Pakistan a fourth position on the ICC Test Team Rankings.

De Villiers, who scored 19 and 90, earned three ratings points which were enough to put him ahead of Shivnarine Chanderpul of the West Indies. The South Africa batsman now trails team-mate Hashim Amla, who also gained five ratings points after scoring 118 runs in the first innings, by 15 ratings points.

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AB de Villiers set the Champions League T20 tournament alight with his innings of 77 off just 36 balls (3 fours and 7 sixes) when The Unlimited Titans played their opening match against the Chennai Super Kings at Ranchi on Sunday. In the end it was not enough to get his team over the line as Chennai won by four wickets with seven balls to spare thanks to the outstanding contributions from Mike Hussey and Man-of-the-Match Suresh Raina who both played quick-fire innings of 47.

They took the match away from the Titans as they put on 73 for the loss of only one wicket in the six power play overs in pursuit of a target of 186.

In normal circumstances the Titans’  total of 185/5 would have been well above par but, with the bowlers struggling to grip the ball in the heavy dew conditions from the start of the match, it was always going to be a match dominated by the batsmen.

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South Africa captain AB de Villiers has admitted that the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy is a golden opportunity for the side to lay its hands on a piece of ICC silverware, a feat the country has not achieved since 1998.

“We are really looking forward to the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales. This is another opportunity for us to win that elusive ICC trophy and it will be a great test for our ODI squad looking ahead to the World Cup in two years,” admitted de Villiers.

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South Africa captain AB de Villiers has joined team-mate Hashim Amla at the top of the Reliance ICC ODI Player Rankings for batsmen following his man of the series performance in the five-match series against Pakistan. The latest rankings were released on Monday after South Africa’s 3-2 series win over Pakistan.

De Villiers was the highest run-getter on either side with 367 runs from five matches at an average of 91.75. While he has regained the top spot he last enjoyed in May 2010, his current rating of 882 is his best-ever to date.

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A brilliant, unbeaten 95 from AB de Villiers led the Proteas to a convincing six-wicket victory in the final Momentum ODI at Sahara Willowmoore Park on Sunday, allowing the home side to claim the series 3:2. Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq won the toss and chose to bat first but not a single one of his team could reach 50, a fact which only emphasised how emphatically different in class De Villiers was to the rest. The tourists stumbled to 205 all out with Ryan McLaren claiming his third three-wicket haul of the series and the Proteas passing the target with six wickets and six overs to spare.

Kamran Akmal top scored for Pakistan with a breezy 48 from 51 balls but a top-edged sweep against Robin Peterson ended realistic hopes of a 270+ total. Nonetheless, Younis Khan (29) and Misbah (24) worked hard to re-establish a platform on which a competitive score could be built and, at 151-4 with 16 overs remaining, 250 was still a possibility.

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Brilliant centuries and a world record stand from AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla were just enough to offset an extraordinary innings from Shahid Afridi as South Africa beat Pakistan by 34 runs in the third Momentum ODI at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

Amla (122) and De Villiers (128) added 238 for the third wicket to lead South Africa to a formidable total of 343-5 and the tourists looked out of the game at 132-5 in reply until Afridi launched a blistering counter-attack with five fours and seven sixes in an innings of 88 from just 48 balls in Pakistan’s reply of 309 all out.

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Giant seamer Mohammad Irfan and captain Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan to a comprehensive victory against South Africa by six wickets in the second Momentum one-day international at Supersport Park on Friday to level the five-match series at one-all. Irfan claimed 4-33 in seven consecutive overs with the new ball and Misbah finished unbeaten on 57 from 73 balls as the tourists comfortably chased down a modest victory target of 192 with 28 balls to spare.

AB de Villiers’ decision to bat first was justified by conditions but undone horribly by some fine seam bowling and a top order galloping along at six runs per over despite the regular clatter of wickets. The top five batsmen were all dismissed inside the first 11 overs with 62 runs on the board.

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