Battle of two cricket captains

6:21 pm on 23 March 2015

New Zealand's Brendon McCullum and South Africa's AB de Villiers are the captains fantastic that have set the Cricket World Cup alight.

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McCullum's aggressive captaincy and equally front-foot approach to batting have confounded most of the opposition, while de Villiers, virtually unstoppable at the crease, has scored three centuries at the tournament.

In Auckland tomorrow, they go head-to-head in the first semi-final. As cricket fans are obsessed with stats, here's what ESPN CricInfo reveals about the dynamic duo:

  • De Villiers regularly features in the records for most runs scored in a one-day international by a captain; McCullum does not - at all. De Villiers has captained South Africa for a bit longer than McCullum has New Zealand, but his success rate is still pretty good: he has made 125 or more five times since taking on the big job. His highest score has been 162 not out.
  • It's not all bad news for McCullum though. He has the highest score - 166 against Ireland in 2008.
  • He has also hit more sixes in one-day matches - 182 - but then he has been playing internationals for three years longer (equates to 61 more matches) than the equally big-hitting De Villiers, who already has 159. Either way, the unique shortness of some of Eden Park's boundaries will be challenged tomorrow.
  • McCullum can be a bit hit or miss. With a total of 18 from 216 innings, he sits at number 25 on the list of the most ducks scored by a player in one-dayers. De Villiers does not feature.
  • McCullum has some good company though, with Nathan Astle, Daniel Vettori, Chris Gayle and Ricky Ponting above him. Again, the more matches you've played the worse it tends to get. Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lankan star, tops the list after batting 433 times for 34 ducks.
  • It might surprise New Zealanders, but De Villiers has a higher strike rate - 98.87 to McCullum's 93.95.

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