Cricket World Cup 2015

SA 'will take Zim seriously'

2015-02-14 09:22
AB de Villiers. (Carl Fourie, Gallo Images)

Hamilton - South Africa skipper AB de Villiers promised his team will take Zimbabwe seriously in their opening Cricket World Cup match in Hamilton on Sunday, declaring his players are keen to make history and ditch their tag as chokers.

South Africa are top contenders this time after failing to go beyond the semi-final stages in all six World Cups they have featured since their readmission to international cricket in 1991.

But their recent good form makes them one of the favourites for the title and, despite admitting his team is amongst the best, De Villiers wants to focus on a dangerous Zimbabwe.

"We know of Zimbabwe's capability, it's not long ago they beat Australia," said De Villiers of their opponents who defeated Australia on their home turf in August last year.

"They are a dangerous side and have come a long way. They are under a good coach (Dav Whatmore) so we know we will have to take them seriously and it's a big start for both teams."

Zimbabwe raised their not-so-high hopes with a seven-wicket win against Sri Lanka in a warm-up game on Wednesday.

Under Whatmore, Zimbabwe have shown signs of progress, notably in their bowling which restricted New Zealand to 157-7 in their rained-off first warm-up game on Monday.

De Villiers said he didn't want to look beyond the first game and worry about other opponents.

"To be honest to watch other games and to follow other games tires me. I don't really care for other games, I watched 10 overs of the Sri Lanka-New Zealand game (on Saturday) and got tired.

"I just want to focus on what we need to do to win the game tomorrow, that's the most important thing.

"We are going to play some world class teams in this World Cup and if we are lucky enough to be in the quarters we are going to play three incredible games against three very very tough opponents."

De Villiers admitted his team was keen to shrug off the "chokers" tag associated with them since their tied semi-final against Australia in the 1999 World Cup in England.

They also flopped in the group stages of the 2003 World Cup held at home and then fell in the semi-final of the 2007 event in the West Indies.

They then lost in the quarter-finals in 2011 held in the sub-continent despite being title favourites.

"It is a fresh tournament for all of us, the 'chokers' is very much part of our system, there's no doubt about it and we have to take that away. It's a great opportunity and the guys are here to make history."

"Like any other tournament our chances are good," added De Villiers, who hit the fastest one-day hundred off just 31 balls against the West Indies last month.

"We are in a good space as a team which is good for us, I really feel we are comfortable. We are not getting ahead of ourselves, we know there are a lots of obstacles along the way and we have to overcome them."

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  proteas  |  cwc 2015  |  cricket

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