De Villiers’s 93 sinks Jozi Stars in MSL warm-up match

The former Proteas captain was playing his first game since announcing his retirement from international cricket almost four months ago.

Tshwane Spartans star AB de Villiers. Picture: @SpartansMSLT20/Twitter

JOHANNEBURG - AB de Villiers's blistering innings of 93 off 31 balls helped the Tshwane Spartans beat the Jozi Stars by 5 runs in their Mzansi Super League warm-up match at the Wanderers on Tuesday night.

The former Proteas captain was playing his first game since announcing his retirement from international cricket almost four months ago but looked like a man who has been playing all year round.

The Stars made a good start with the ball when Proteas speedster Duanne Olivier had opener Gihahn Cloete caught for 9 in the second over of the match. Young Titans batsman Toni de Zorzi and experienced campaigner Dean Elgar set about reviving the innings until Eddie Leie spun one past the advancing Elgar to have him stumped by Sinethemba Qeshile for 24.

Enter de Villiers, who played a glorious straight drive for four with the first ball he faced to get going. He was particularly severe on the bowling of Leie who went for 50 runs in his allotted 4 overs. De Villiers and former Proteas teammate Rilee Rossouw shared a brilliant partnership that showed off power and immense skill.

The 34-year-Old de Villiers was eventually out for 93, but had already catapulted the Spartans's total past the 200-run mark and they eventually finished on a mammoth 217/9 in 20 overs.

The Stars's run chase got off to the best possible start, with the opening standing between Ryan Rickelton and Rassie van der Dussen producing 104 in six overs, both of them notching up fifties.

Shaun von Berg and Sri Lankan international Jeevan Mendis then put the brakes on the Stars's innings with the vital wickets of the opening pair.

Captain Dane Vilas threatened with a run a ball 19 but fell while trying to be aggressive. Pite van Biljon and Australian Dan Christian provided late drama with their 50-run stand but it was not enough as they fell 5 runs short of the target.

The Spartans will open up the inaugural tournament when they meet the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands on Friday night while the Stars will be at home against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants on Saturday.