ICC World Twenty20
AB: Proteas won't choke!
Colombo - AB de Villiers and his troops will take a lot of lessons from their loss against Pakistan, as they prepare for their second ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight match against Australia on Sunday.
The short turn-around of matches leaves little time for reflection, with De Villiers also using the time to focus on the positives.
“The positive thing about the match against Pakistan was that we didn’t play at 100 per cent,” De Villiers said. “We were way below par and we still competed. I am very proud of the way the boys fought back after the first 10 overs with bat in hand. People tend to forget that we actually fought well to get ourselves into a winning position.”
The end result is ultimately what counts, but the team can draw on their impressive fielding performance, their batting at the death which yielded 57 runs in six overs (seven dot balls) and the bowling intent and intensity which left Pakistan at 76 for seven.
“It’s very easy to look at the one or two overs where we lost the game with ball in hand, but we played unbelievable cricket to get there. I am proud of the way we fought and I think we stand a really good chance in the next two games to play good cricket again; we can only go up from here.”
The Proteas’ mental strength in pressure situations will always be under close scrutiny at World events. The team continues to show progress in that area, which will be defining in the matches to come.
“I am very proud of the way we played,” De Villiers said. “A lot of people will say we choked again, but I thought we played good cricket out there. I thought we did well to compete. We held our heads up high when we walked off the field because that is the way we played, we gave ourselves the chance to win the game.”
Australia pose a different threat to that of Pakistan, with pace and bounce a strength they will look to exploit. For the Proteas the challenge remains the same regardless of the opposition.
“We will come back in the next two games and, if we play better cricket, we will win both of them and we will go through to the semi-finals. There won’t be any choking there, that’s for sure,” De Villiers concluded.
The game on Sunday starts at 12:00 (SA time) at the R Premadasa Stadium.