(CNN) -- A.B. de Villiers scored the fastest century by a South African batsman at a Cricket World Cup to give his country a winning start to the 2011 tournament on Thursday, beating the West Indies by seven wickets in New Delhi.
De Villiers, who also scored a World Cup ton against the Windies four years ago with 146 in the Caribbean, guided the Proteas to their target of 223 with 7.1 of the 50 allotted overs remaining.
He came to the crease with South Africa wobbling at 20-2 after key batsman Jacques Kallis fell for just four runs, but he added 119 with captain Graeme Smith (45) to steady the innings and then an unbroken 84 with J.P. Duminy.
There was a brief break for rain after 38 overs, but De Villiers went on to reach three figures in 97 balls faced -- a lot slower than Australian Matthew Hayden's record of 66 against South Africa in 2007.
It was the 27-year-old's 10th century in one-day internationals -- nine of them have resulted in victories -- and his third against the West Indies as he finished on 107 off 105 balls.
He told reporters that his time with Indian Premier League side Delhi Darevils in the lucrative Twenty20 competition had proved insightful.
"I chatted to Graeme before the game and said that the outfield gets very damp at night here, therefore it's better to bat second. It's really hard to defend a total on this outfield," de Villiers said in quotes carried by the AFP agency.
Duminy passed 2,000 runs in limited-overs cricket as he hit the winning shot to be unbeaten on 42 from 53 balls in his World Cup debut against the 1975 and 1979 champions.
The match had an inauspicious start when the South African national anthem was cut short, to the bemusement of the players and fans.
Another South African debutant, spin bowler Imran Tahir, claimed four wickets in his first international match as the Windies were bowled out for 222 in 47.3 overs after losing the toss and being asked to bat first.
The Pakistan-born 31-year-old ended with figures of 4-41 from his 10 overs, while fast bowler Dale Steyn took 3-24 and spinner Johan Botha claimed 2-48 in his first World Cup outing.
The West Indies reached 113 for the loss of only one batsman when Botha, who opened the bowling with Steyn, trapped top scorer Darren Bravo leg before wicket for 73 off 82 deliveries.
Tahir then struck twice before Dwayne Bravo was run-out after a rollicking 40 off 37 balls that featured three sixes.
Tahir also dismissed veteran left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 31 and Steyn cleaned up the tail as the last five wickets fell for just 14 runs.
The result put South Africa second in Group B on run differential behind co-hosts India and above England, with all three teams having won their opening matches.
On Friday the action returns to Group A, with four-time champions Australia playing New Zealand in the Indian city of Nagpur.
In Group B, co-hosts Bangladesh take on Ireland in Dhaka.