He broke former Australia left-handed opener Matthew Hayden's record of 18 sixes in the 2007 edition.
The swashbuckling right-hander also holds the record for the maximum sixes in the quadrennial event (36) taking all the editions into account. Two-time Australian World Cup winning captain Ricky Ponting is second on the list with 31 sixes to his credit.
Though de Villiers missed out on the first two innings in this year's event, hitting only one over the fence, he latched onto the bowlers in his third match against the West Indies where he clubbed eight sixes en route to his 162 not out.
In the next encounter against Ireland he again hit two sixes but got out for 24. On March 7 in their contest at Auckland versus Pakistan, he hit five sixes and scored 77.
On Thursday he went past Hayden in a game against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), by clobbering four sixes as he missed his ton by a run, after being caught of a Kamran Shazad delivery.
The 31-year-old, who holds the record for the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in One-Day International (ODI) cricket, also entered the World Cup top-10 of all-time scorers' list reaching a total of 1,142 runs.
The list is headed by Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar with 2,278 runs to his credit.
De Villiers was also only the third player in the World Cup to get out on 99, the others being Australia's Adam Gilchrist (2003) and another South African Jean-Paul Duminy (2011).
De Villiers has played 185 ODIs, scoring 7876 runs with the help of 20 centuries and 45 fifties. His average is 53.21 and strike rate is 98.87.