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Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - AB de Villiers vs Ross Taylor

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Friday Fights - AB de Villiers vs Ross Taylor


Friday Fights | The Big ODI Fight - AB de Villiers vs Ross Taylor

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Anirudh Suresh


‘Contrast’ is something that defines Friday Fights and what better way to portray it by having two brutalizers of the cricket ball go head-to-head against each other, one week after a Dravid vs Jayawardene contest? Today we bring to you the ultimate AB de Villiers vs the immortal Ross Taylor.

If AB de Villiers floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, then Ross Taylor mauls like a Lion - he stands and delivers. Two of the greatest modern-day cricketers to have set foot onto a cricket field, de Villiers and Taylor are exemplary examples for the fact that there is and will always be more to athletes than silverware. Both these men, unfortunately, have nothing to show for when it comes to trophies, but does that make them inferior to their compatriots? Well, I, for one, don’t think so. But mind you, one of these two could yet walk away with the ‘Greatest ODI cricketer of all time’ title, and that is exactly why we’re here today - to see who is the ‘greater’ of the two. My eyes are getting impatient already, to witness the fight, so let’s pit these two men inside the ring without further ado.


ROUND 1 -> CAREER AVERAGE: AB is up and running early - as always

Be it on a cricket field against eleven men, or inside a ring one-on-one versus a singular force, trust AB to hit the ground up and running from the word go. Taylor, with a career average of 48.44, puts his guard down only for a second, but that is enough for AB, who, with overall numbers of 53.5, lands a straight short punch to draw first blood.

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 8

ROUND 2 -> AVERAGE IN FOREIGN CONDITIONS:  The term ‘foreign’ is a myth for AB

If there’s one thing we’ve come to learn about AB, it’s that every single country treats him as one of their own. We all remember his 100th Test in Bangalore, don’t we? Thus after catching Taylor on his face in R1, AB whacks him with an overhand in R2 to further assert his authority. His away average of 61.75 is 18 more than Taylor’s 43.1. Talk about a mismatch! Jeeez!

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 8

ROUND 3 -> AVERAGE IN HOME CONDITIONS: Taylor gets one back out of nowhere!!

Well, there you go. That’s typical Ross Taylor for you, right here - absorbs, absorbs, absorbs the pressure and BANG, counter-punches out of nowhere.  AB’s 52.55 is a pretty decent number, but Taylor’s jab is so good that it stuns the Protean. A home average of 55.76 for the Kiwi helps him dominate the round. Who’d have thought?

De Villiers - 9  and Taylor 10

ROUND 4 -> AVERAGE IN NEUTRAL VENUES:  Finally, a round that is NOT one-sided

It has taken four rounds but MY GOD we finally have a fight in our hands. Taylor, having won the previous round, starts R4 off on an offensive note, catching AB with a powerful right cross, but the nifty Protean recovers and delivers a monstrous hook. Such is the power of AB’s strike that his neutral average of 44.84 triumphs Taylor’s 43.61, despite the Kiwi unloading in this particular round.

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 9

ROUND 5 -> 50 TO 100 CONVERSION (in %): An encore, how often do we see that?

For a good few seconds, I was convinced that I was, in fact, witnessing a replay of Round 4 and not live action.  WHAT. WAS. THAT?  In identical fashion to the previous round, Taylor makes his mark early and gets some offence in, but is outclassed by the genius of AB, whose cross-counter is too good for the Kiwi. AB’s conversion percentage of 32.05 marginally edges Taylor’s 29.16.

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 9

Round 6 -> % OF 50s IN WINNING CAUSES: Both these men are winners, alright

It would have been quite the irony had the “% of 50s in winning causes’ round ended in a tie. Well, it did - almost. Unfortunately, AB wasn’t generous enough to let Taylor pocket a round. The duo exchange punches back and forth and are inseparable for 170 seconds, but Mr.360 sways away towards the closing moments and catches Taylor with an overhand OUT OF NOWHERE. AB’s 69.8% helps him steal the round right under the nose of Taylor’s 68.62.

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 9

Round 7 ->  % OF 100s IN WINNING CAUSES:  No question of a tied round here!

Alright then, seven rounds in, first signs of Taylor’s instincts failing him - despite him being a month younger than de Villiers. De Villiers goes for an ambitious 1-1-2 (Jab-Jab-Cross) combo, and while Taylor dodges the first punch, he fails to swerve out of the way in the next two and catches em BANG on his face. AB’s 84% success rate in scoring hundreds is in a different league to Taylor’s 66.6. 

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 8

Round 8 -> AVERAGE IN MAJOR TOURNAMENTS: The wheels are coming off for Taylor

Having shown signs of fatigue in R7, Taylor decides to throw caution to the wind but misses EVERY SINGLE PUNCH HE THROWS. Five, to be precise. AB dodges Taylor’s ambitious attempts and lands a killer hook that benumbs the Kiwi. In fact, so powerful is AB’s strike that it forces Taylor’s mouth-guard to go for a walk. His average of 50.15 in major tournaments is SIXTEEN more than Taylor’s 34.67. Talk about dominance. 

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 7

Round 9 -> STRIKE RATE: Is the end near?

Having lost seven of the first eight rounds, Taylor has given up hope and it shows. He, at least, went for some offence in R8, but here he is standing almost motionless, barely managing to keep his guard up. Sensing the withering hope within Taylor, AB switches roles with the Kiwi, becomes the lion and absolutely MAULS the right-hander with an uppercut. He FLOORS Taylor with his strike rate of 101.09, which is 18 more than the Kiwi’s 83.46. In which era is Taylor playing ODI cricket, again?

De Villiers - 10  and Taylor 7


ALL HAIL THE ALMIGHTY AB!  He has done it just the way he does on a cricket field - racing off to victory with some time to spare!  Sensing Taylor is on the verge of shattering into pieces, AB pulls off the Bob and weave>3>4>5 (Bob and weave-Lead hook-Right hook-Lead uppercut) and that is enough to knock out and lay-out Taylor, who lays motionless in the mat after the wicked combo. The South African’s 29 fifty-plus scores with a 120+ SR brualizes the Kiwi, who just has 9 of those to his name. TALK ABOUT AN EMPHATIC FINISH!


Final score - De Villiers 109 - 90 Ross Taylor

Well, the “C” word has come to haunt de Villiers again, only this time around it’s “CHAMPION”.  That was a champion performance from the South African, if there ever was one. Like he does on a cricket field, AB, in the ring too, showcased his entire arsenal of weapons and boy wasn’t it a viewer’s delight. It’s hard luck for Taylor but if there’s something we’ve learnt today, it’s that the New Zealander is light-years behind his South African counterpart. 

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