South Africa captain AB de Villiers was laid low by illness which gave him a sleepless night before he found the perfect cure by hitting a breathtaking 162 not out in Friday's 257-run World Cup rout of the West Indies.
De Villiers made his runs off just 66 balls as South Africa raced to the second-highest World Cup total of 408 for 5, behind only the 413 for 5 made by India against makeweights Bermuda in Trinidad in 2007.
It was the fastest 150 in one-day internationals and De Villiers now has the fastest fifty, hundred and 150 in ODI cricket – all coming against West Indies.
De Villiers’s century came off 52 balls, just shy of the World Cup fastest ton hit by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien off 50 deliveries against England in Bangalore in 2011.
“I had some stomach problems last night, I didn’t eat much and had a very rough night. But the doctor gave me an injection and I was on my way,” said De Villiers as his team recovered in emphatic style from their 130-run loss to India in Melbourne last time out.
Friday’s result was the record-equalling heaviest defeat at the World Cup alongside India’s 257-run win over Bermuda.
De Villiers demolished the West Indians with eight sixes and 17 fours and was particularly savage on his counterpart Jason Holder, clouting four sixes off the pace bowler’s final over.
South Africa moved into second place in Pool B behind India on run-rate while West Indies are fourth, also on four points but behind Ireland after their net run-rate took a battering at the SCG.
“As a team it was a very important win for us tonight,” added De Villiers. “It was important for us to step up after the loss to India in Melbourne and show what we’re all about as a cricket team.
“After Melbourne we had a few meetings, a few good training sessions and got the boys inspired for today.”
He added: “I think the credit must go to the guys up front for setting a base. Rilee (Rossouw) inspired me and that affected how I played.”
For the West Indies, the defeat was a crushing blow, coming just three days after Chris Gayle became the first man to make a World Cup double century in the win against Zimbabwe.
Holder conceded 104 runs off his 10 overs – the fifth-most expensive return in all ODI cricket – before redeeming himself to a degree by top-scoring with 56.
“I thought we did well early in the game with the ball and keeping the run-rate down but then it got away from us,” said Holder.
“If you take away his innings it is a totally different score but we dropped chances and psychologically chasing 400 is a huge task.
“We have some areas we need to improve on. Going forward we need to take the positives and try to go in with full confidence. We are confident we can make the quarter-finals and we need to play good cricket against India,” in Perth on March 6.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE