Johannesburg - The slow and difficult start to the
Proteas' innings made the win even sweeter, AB de Villiers said after South
Africa's 34-run victory against Pakistan on Sunday.
"It wasn't easy to bat during the
first 10 to 15 overs and the wicket really assisted the bowlers," De
Villiers said after the Proteas took a 2-1 lead in the five-match one-day
"So to come back from that and to win
the match made it all the more special to me.
VIDEO: SA v Pakistan 3rd ODI, highlights
"The way we fought back with the bat,
and with the ball when we were under pressure, was amazing."
De Villiers and Hashim Amla set a new world
record for a third-wicket partnership in 50-over cricket, combining for 238
runs off 194 balls.
On the way to achieving their milestone,
they each scored centuries with Amla making 122 and De Villiers 128.
"It's always nice to bat with Hash and
we took calculated risks at the right time. We both played according to our gut
feel and we just sensed when it was the time to take it on," De Villiers
"It wasn't a conscious decision but
after a ball or two went to the boundary, we realised it was an opportunity to
take an eight-run over to a 15 or 20-run over and that always puts you in a
De Villiers said the intensity and the
energy out on the field while they were batting was unbelievable and he felt
quite drained afterwards.
"We sent a good message out to
Pakistan after our body language showed we meant business.
"It's the basics that make the
difference at the end of the day, so I'm really proud of the partnership and
the fact that we took it deep and then set it up nicely for Faf du Plessis and
Farhaan Behardien to come in and express themselves."
Setting a formidable target of 344,
Pakistan set about their chase with equal intent and when Shahid Afridi came in
at number seven, he played like a potential match winner, striking 88 runs off
He hit five boundaries and seven massive
sixes, one of which bounced off the roof and out of the stadium.
"Afridi threatened to take the game
away from us but I knew we had enough skills to get him out eventually.
"It was an amazing knock and I had to
force myself mentally not to get emotional about it. We were not bowling badly,
he was just playing out of his skin."
De Villiers said it was good to see Afridi
live up to his reputation of being a big hitter and he enjoyed watching him.
"It was really good to see him back as
he's a great entertainer and it's good for cricket. I'm chuffed for him but
hopefully he won't do it again in this series."
Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Huq praised
Afridi for his spectacular innings, which took the team total forward at a time
when they needed to accelerate.
"It was a very important innings for
Afridi and we knew he had it in him," Misbah said.
"He can be really dangerous at number
seven and today he regained his confidence and showed he can still be a
fireball for us."
Misbah felt there were still many positives
to be taken out of the match, despite finishing on the wrong side.
"You need a positive mindset to try
and keep up with the required run rate and we did that today but sometimes it
goes your way and sometimes it doesn't," he said.
"All credit to De Villiers and Amla
for the way they played. There was something in the pitch for the bowlers in
the beginning so they just were hanging in there and then they played really
well to cash in."