Benoni - Bowling in pairs and forming partnerships was the key to South Africa’s six-wicket victory in the final one-day international (ODI) against Pakistan, captain AB de Villiers said on Sunday.
“It’s difficult to single out an individual bowler because I believe what won us the game was their partnerships,” De Villiers said after the Proteas won the fifth and final match by six wickets.
“Although Ryan McLaren took three wickets, Robin Peterson and Farhaan Behardien got massive wickets which changed the rhythm of the game and the pattern of play for us.”
VIDEO: SA v Pakistan, 5th ODI highlights
Winning the five-match ODI Series 3-2, De Villiers said he was pleased with the team’s performance as a whole as it had been difficult batting in the latter half of the match.
“The second innings was quite hard and it would have been tough if Pakistan had got an extra 50-odd runs on the board. So credit to our bowlers for a magnificent performance today - they really gave us a good chance and the batters did the rest.”
He also praised the middle order and said he was pleased with the way both Farhaan Behardien and David Miller had come in and played positive cricket, looking at home at the crease.
Named man-of-the-series as the leading run-scorer with 367 runs, De Villiers made a century in one game and three half-centuries including his 95 not out in Benoni. He said he was enjoying his batting and trying to keep things simple.
“My game plan is pretty straightforward and I bat with intensity and a good energy at the crease. I try and keep still and watch the ball as best I can and play the situation I’m confronted with at the time.
“Every situation is different and that’s what I love about ODI cricket. I can go out there and absorb some pressure and then express my skills toward the end of my innings.
"I’m very happy with my form and hopefully I can keep it up moving forward.”
He said he had enjoyed some good fortune, including being dropped in the slips, with his score on one earlier in the day, and he took the opportunity with both hands.
“Dropped catches are part of the game and it’s happened throughout the series.
“Luckily for me, one went down today but you still have to cash in and make it count. We formed a few good batting partnerships, after I was dropped, and it won us the game today.
He had noted the team’s progress over the last few weeks, and said he hoped they were moving in the right direction.
“We started off quite slowly, and even though we won the first match in Bloemfontein, we were a bit rusty around the edges.
“We got better in each game as the bowling unit starting to think about game plans while the batters looked good throughout the series.
"I’m very happy with our progress and we’ll reflect on the things we did well and try and keep doing them in the future.”
De Villiers believes the current side is capable of lifting a major trophy and they will do their homework ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.
“We beat a very good Pakistan team and we know we have the talent but we have to go out there and prove it.
“We’ll work really hard to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to do so and take it one step at a time.”