South Africa’s stand-in captain, below, produced the country’s fastest half-century in the format on his way to a magical unbeaten 69 off 28 balls.
The overall effort was breathtaking in its audacity, but illuminated by the way he broke England’s spirit with two consecutive sixes off Jade Dernbach in an 18th over that yielded 26 runs.
But De Villiers, below, believes it’s not a matter of what position he’s employed in.
“I don’t think that matters,” he said. “I came in after the 10th over, I think that’s what one should focus on. The coaching staff prefer me coming in at that stage of the innings and that’s why I’m probably mostly staying at No 4.
“I was very motivated and keen to make an impact. So it’s more about the stage of the innings I come in than the position.”
However, there was no denying the impact of his assault.
“It was an important over. I targeted the short boundary and also felt that we hadn’t had many big overs at that stage. I was feeling settled and I read him (Dernbach) pretty well. Unfortunately for him, his execution wasn’t spot-on,” said De Villiers.
Along with Hashim Amla’s fluent 56 and the spell from the returning Wayne Parnell, whose wicket-taking ability is making it increasingly mystifying why he isn’t a shoe-in when possible, the Proteas had numerous match-winners on the night.
Importantly though, they actually produced the type of encouraging team effort many have craved.
“We haven’t played well up till now. It was good that we clicked. It’s always important in tournaments like this to show some form at the right time,” said De Villiers.