Cricket South Africa (CSA) has revealed captain Faf du Plessis backed retired star AB de Villiers' late bid to be included in the Proteas' Cricket World Cup squad.

De Villiers retired from international cricket last year but reports emerged this week that he had attempted to return for the ongoing World Cup in England but was turned away.

The 35-year-old was not included in the squad and South Africa have subsequently lost their opening three matches, as well as suffering several early injury problems.

Chief selector Linda Zondi has now confirmed CSA's decision, explaining that De Villiers was not considered due to his absence from prior ODI matches.

However, Du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson were both keen to have De Villiers back, according to Zondi, who insists he does not regret the call.

"I pleaded with AB de Villiers not to retire in 2018," Zondi said in a statement.

"Although there was a perception that he was picking and choosing when to play - which was not true - I did give him the option to plan and monitor his season to get him to the World Cup fresh and in a good space.

"We made it clear that he would have to play during the home tours against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to be considered for selection, instead he signed to play in the Pakistan and Bangladesh Premier Leagues respectively.

"He turned down the offer and said he was at peace with his decision to retire.

"For Faf du Plessis and Ottis Gibson to share AB's desire to be included in the squad on the day we announced our World Cup squad on April 18 was a shock to all of us.

"AB left a big vacuum when he retired; we had a year to find players at franchise level to fill the gap. We had players who put in the hard work, who put up their hands and deserved to be given the opportunity to go to the World Cup.

"The decision was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players.

"At no point in the year that he had retired did he make himself available for selection. It was no option when I received the news on the day of the squad announcement, our squad was finalised and confirmed.

"AB is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world, but above all else, we have to stay true to our morals and principles. There is no regret in the decision."

De Villiers was quick to turn attention to on-field matters with South Africa struggling to stay in the World Cup.

He tweeted on Thursday: "All that's important is that we should all focus on supporting the team at the World Cup.

"There is a long way to go and I believe the boys can still go all the way."

Royal Challengers Bangalore's resurgence continued despite MS Dhoni's heroics as Parthiv Patel's final-ball direct hit earned the Indian Premier League's bottom side a thrilling one-run win over leaders Chennai Super Kings.

Patel (53) had underpinned the Challengers' innings as they made 161-7, with Deepak Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo each taking two wickets apiece for Chennai.

Dale Steyn then claimed two dismissals in the opening over of Chennai's innings and, at 28-4 at the end of the powerplay, they had it all to do when Dhoni (84 not out) arrived, yet the 37-year-old dragged his team to the brink of victory with 24 runs off the first five balls of the final over.

That meant Chennai needed two from the final ball to win with Dhoni on strike, yet Umesh Yadav's delivery went through to Patel behind the stumps and he beat Shardul Thakur's dive to run him out, clinching a third win in four for Bangalore.

Du Plessis atones for drop in the field

Dhoni's team started brightly, with Bangalore captain Virat Kohli out in the third over, yet Faf du Plessis looked to have made a costly error when he misjudged AB de Villiers' shot to him at mid off and could only get his fingertips to the ball.

De Villiers appeared in the mood when he reached 25 off 19 balls and he dispatched Jadeja's shorter ball to the long-off boundary, but his compatriot did not put down another chance.

It was one of two catches made by Du Plessis – who has now taken 10 in this year's IPL – though his most impressive act was the role he played in removing Marcus Stoinis (14) as he shovelled the ball up to Dhruv Shorey while falling over the rope to claim a brilliant assist.

Steyn sets the tone again as Dhoni's effort comes up short

Bangalore's dismal start to the IPL campaign owed much to their feeble bowling attack, which has been rejuvenated since Steyn returned in a 10-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders last time out.

The Challengers had taken only three wickets in the powerplays of their first eight matches, but have now taken seven in their past two, with Steyn (2-29) and Yadav (2-47) laying the foundations again.

Steyn accounted for Shane Watson, who edged to slip, and bowled Suresh Raina in the opening over, while De Villiers took routine catches off Yadav's bowling to dismiss Du Plessis and Kedar Jadhav. That left Chennai 28-4, a position that ultimately proved too much to come back from despite Dhoni's brilliance.

Dhoni reached his half-century off 35 balls with one of his seven sixes. He then dragged his team into a position to triumph with three maximums in the final over – including one that went out of the stadium – but his failure to get bat on ball at the death allowed Patel to be the match-winner instead.

Mumbai Indians consigned Indian Premier League strugglers Royal Challengers Bangalore to a five-wicket defeat thanks to Hardik Pandya's late cameo at Wankhede Stadium.

The Challengers had picked up their first win of the 2019 season at the seventh attempt last time out but fell to another demoralising loss on Monday as the hosts overhauled their 171-7 with an over to spare.

It looked like being a tight finish as the Indians needed 22 off the last 12 balls, but Pandya (37 not out off 16) struck Pawan Negi for two fours and two sixes to get his side over the line.

Moeen Ali starred in a losing cause for RCB, making 50 off 32 in a partnership worth 95 with AB de Villiers (75 from 51) before returning 2-18 to give his team hope that was ultimately quashed by Pandya's blitz.

 

MOEEN FINDS FORM AT LAST ALONGSIDE DESTRUCTIVE DE VILLIERS

England all-rounder Moeen's previous top score in this IPL had been 32 but he looked in good touch, thumping five sixes in his 31-ball fifty.

Two of those came in one over from Jason Behrendorff, whose four overs cost 49 on the day he was included in Australia's World Cup squad.

Parthiv Patel had earlier taken the seamer for three fours and a maximum in the fifth, and De Villiers' fourth half-century of the tournament – featuring six fours and four sixes – boosted RCB's total.

 

MALINGA MAGIC PRECEDES OPENING ONSLAUGHT

The Challengers' progress was checked slightly as Lasith Malinga (4-31) picked up his four wickets in overs 18 and 20, before Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma went on the offensive for Mumbai.

The pair cleared the ropes four times between them in a seven-over stand worth 70, before Moeen dismissed them both in the space of four balls.

Rohit was cleaned up having made 28 off 19 and De Kock was trapped in front after a typically brisk 26-ball 40.

 

PANDYA PUNISHES NEGI

The game remained firmly in the balance heading into the penultimate over, where Pandya took control.

Negi's second ball disappeared over long-on and the next two were also smashed to the ropes before the fifth delivery was slog-swept over the leg-side for another maximum.

Mumbai's equation was reduced to two required off seven and the game was done, leaving RCB rooted to the foot of the table.

Royal Challengers Bangalore avoided an unwanted Indian Premier League record by finally getting up and running with an eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab despite Chris Gayle's unbeaten 99.

Defeat for RCB would have seen them become the first side in IPL history to lose their first seven matches of the tournament, but they stopped the rot in Mohali on Saturday.

The in-form Gayle struck five sixes and 10 fours in a brilliant knock, KL Rahul and Mandeep Singh the next highest scorers with 18 as Kings XI posted 173-4.

Gayle would have been out without scoring in the first over if Kohli had reviewed when Umesh Yadav rapped him on the pads and the opener took advantage of that stroke of luck.

Kohli made 67 from 53 balls before AB de Villiers (59 not out from 38) and Marcus Stoinis (26no off 15) saw Bangalore home with four balls to spare.

 

 

GAYLE CASHES IN AFTER EARLY LET-OFF

Gayle should have been on his way when he was struck in front by Yadav but the finger did not go up and Kohli opted against a review.

That proved to be costly as the self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' cut loose, hitting two sixes off a Mohammed Siraj over which went for 24 runs.

The West Indies opener brought up his half-century off only 28 balls and, after being dropped by Kohli on 83, he finished one shy of a hundred after hitting the final ball of the innings from Siraj for four.

 

KOHLI MAKES AMENDS

While it was not a day to remember for Kohli in the field, he made amends with a typically brilliant second half-century of the tournament.

The India captain went through his repertoire of classy strokes and motored to 50 in 37 balls. 

He put on 85 with De Villiers for the second wicket before hooking Mohammed Shami straight to a perfectly placed Murugan Ashwin.

 

DE VILLIERS AND STOINIS FINISH IT OFF

RCB needed 46 to win off 27 deliveries when Kohli departed and De Villiers and Stoinis stepped up to see them home.

Stoinis breathed a sigh of relief when Ashwin put down a skier, then De Villiers added insult to injury by hitting the next ball from Australian Andrew Tye over the ropes in an eventful 18th over that cost 18 runs.

De Villiers got down on one knee to smash Shami for six leaving RCB needing only six off the last over and Stoinis dispatched Sarfaraz Khan's first ball for four and took two off the next to win it.

Andre Russell produced an astonishing late onslaught as Kolkata Knight Riders made sure Royal Challengers Bangalore are still searching for their first win in the 2019 Indian Premier League.

The West Indies all-rounder belted seven sixes as he made an unbeaten 48 from just 13 deliveries, helping the Knight Riders overhaul their opponents' total of 205-3 with five balls to spare.

Having arrived at the crease with the score at 139-4 in the 16th over, Russell managed a single from his first four legal deliveries as the Royal Challengers appeared on course to break their duck in this season's competition.

However, his whirlwind knock made the task of 53 runs from the final three overs a breeze, with the five-wicket triumph lifting Kolkata up to second in the table.

Bangalore, in contrast, remain stuck at the bottom. A fifth successive defeat did not appear on the cards at the halfway stage of the contest, with two of their star names shining with the bat.

Captain Virat Kohli top-scored with 84 from 49 deliveries and shared a second-wicket stand of 108 with AB de Villiers, who made 63. However, Russell eclipsed the pair with a dazzling display of hitting down the stretch.

 

SOUTHEE SUFFERS IN THRILLING CHASE

When Tim Southee started the penultimate over of the game, the Knight Riders required 30 from 12 deliveries. By the time the New Zealander had finished his spell, the scores were level.

After Shubman Gill started the over with a single, Russell smashed 28 runs off the next five balls. A quartet of sixes included two over midwicket, while the boundary in the blitz came with a cheeky steer over wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel when Southee dropped in a short ball.

Russell has now managed 207 runs in this year's IPL from 77 deliveries, putting him third on the top-scorers' list behind Sunrisers Hyderabad duo David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. His tally includes an astonishing 22 sixes.

Kolkata needed their in-form player to fire, too. Chris Lynn made 43 at the top of the order and there were also contributions from Robin Uthappa (33) and Nitish Rana (37), though the Royal Challengers appeared to be in control until the game came to a dramatic - and hasty - conclusion.

 

KOLHI SHINES DESPITE RCB'S GLOOMY OUTLOOK

Bangalore have found runs hard to come by in this campaign - they had been bowled out for scores of 70 and 113 prior to Friday - but found some form after being put in by Kolkata.

Kohli produced successive drives for four to get up and running at the start of his innings, albeit Bangalore's run-rate slowed after finishing the powerplay on 53 without loss.

Opener Patel fell with the score on 64, trapped lbw for 25, but the initial breakthrough only allowed De Villiers to combine with his skipper in a thrilling century partnership.

After the former South Africa international departed, Marcus Stoinis made an unbeaten 28 in a hurry to lift Bangalore beyond 200, a good score but not quite good enough in the final reckoning to secure an overdue triumph.

Andre Russell produced an astonishing late onslaught as Kolkata Knight Riders made sure Royal Challengers Bangalore are still searching for their first win in the 2019 Indian Premier League.

The West Indies all-rounder belted seven sixes as he made an unbeaten 48 from just 13 deliveries, helping the Knight Riders overhaul their opponents' total of 205-3 with five balls to spare.

Having arrived at the crease with the score at 139-4 in the 16th over, Russell managed a single from his first four legal deliveries as the Royal Challengers appeared on course to break their duck in this season's competition.

However, his whirlwind knock made the task of 53 runs from the final three overs a breeze, with the five-wicket triumph lifting Kolkata up to second in the table.

Bangalore, in contrast, remain stuck at the bottom. A fifth successive defeat did not appear on the cards at the halfway stage of the contest, with two of their star names shining with the bat.

Captain Virat Kohli top-scored with 84 from 49 deliveries and shared a second-wicket stand of 108 with AB de Villiers, who made 63. However, Russell eclipsed the pair with a dazzling display of hitting down the stretch.

 

SOUTHEE SUFFERS IN THRILLING CHASE

When Tim Southee started the penultimate over of the game, the Knight Riders required 30 from 12 deliveries. By the time the New Zealander had finished his spell, the scores were level.

After Shubman Gill started the over with a single, Russell smashed 28 runs off the next five balls. A quartet of sixes included two over midwicket, while the boundary in the blitz came with a cheeky steer over wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel when Southee dropped in a short ball.

Russell has now managed 207 runs in this year's IPL from 77 deliveries, putting him third on the top-scorers' list behind Sunrisers Hyderabad duo David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. His tally includes an astonishing 22 sixes.

Kolkata needed their in-form player to fire, too. Chris Lynn made 43 at the top of the order and there were also contributions from Robin Uthappa (33) and Nitish Rana (37), though the Royal Challengers appeared to be in control until the game came to a dramatic - and hasty - conclusion.

 

KOLHI SHINES DESPITE RCB'S GLOOMY OUTLOOK

Bangalore have found runs hard to come by in this campaign - they had been bowled out for scores of 70 and 113 prior to Friday - but found some form after being put in by Kolkata.

Kohli produced successive drives for four to get up and running at the start of his innings, albeit Bangalore's run-rate slowed after finishing the powerplay on 53 without loss.

Opener Patel fell with the score on 64, trapped lbw for 25, but the initial breakthrough only allowed De Villiers to combine with his skipper in a thrilling century partnership.

After the former South Africa international departed, Marcus Stoinis made an unbeaten 28 in a hurry to lift Bangalore beyond 200, a good score but not quite good enough in the final reckoning to secure an overdue triumph.

AB de Villiers has signed for Middlesex for this season's T20 Blast.

The former South Africa batsman, who retired from all forms of international cricket in May last year, is available to feature in the first seven rounds of the competition and could return for the later stages.

De Villiers has previously expressed an interest in playing in the ECB's new 100-ball competition, which is to be launched next year.

But for now he will bring his explosive batting to England's domestic Twenty20 competition, and told Middlesex's official website: "I have always wanted to play county cricket, and I am very much looking forward to joining Middlesex for the Vitality Blast.

"Playing at Lord's is always a wonderful privilege, and I'm looking forward to the match at Richmond, a beautiful ground in south-west London. That will be a great experience."

De Villiers scored 1,672 runs in 78 matches in T20 internationals for the Proteas. Only JP Duminy (1,858) has scored more runs in the shortest format for South Africa.

Lahore Qalandars selected AB de Villiers as first pick in the Pakistan Super League draft and Steve Smith was snapped up by a yet-to-be-named franchise on Tuesday.

De Villiers was the prized selection as a 'Platinum' player for a tournament which gets under way in February.

Mohammad Hafeez, Carlos Brathwaite and Yasir Shah will be among the former South Africa captain's Qalandars team-mates.

Banned ex-Australia skipper Smith was recruited by a 'sixth team' - formerly Multan Sultans - to play alongside the likes of Mohammad Abbas, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.

Defending champions Islamabad United brought in former England batsman Ian Bell and secured a return for his compatriot Samit Patel.

Kieron Pollard will play for Peshawar Zalmi, while fellow West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was picked by Quetta Gladiators.

 

Cricket South Africa has announced the details of its upcoming Mzansi Super League, a Twenty20 competition that will feature stars such as AB de Villiers, Kagiso Rabada and Faf du Plessis.

AB de Villiers says he has "absolutely no regrets" about his decision to end his career with South Africa.

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