Cape Town - Proteas all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo believes his hard work off the field is finally starting to pay off.
The 22-year-old was superb in the 2nd ODI against Pakistan in Durban on Tuesday night, taking 4/22 and hitting 69* in a match-winning performance.
A player who has promised much over his 36 ODIs to date, this was easily Phehlukwayo's best match in Proteas colours and he has taken a massive step towards securing his place in the squad for this year's World Cup in England.
Phehlukwayo came into bat with the Proteas 80/5 and chasing 204 for victory and his undefeated 127-run stand with Rassie van der Dussen (80*) got the hosts over the line to tie the series at 1-1.
"Personally I just wanted to be positive. There was quite a hill to climb and a lot of runs still needed. Without Rassie there it would have been really tough, but credit goes to him ... he played an unbelievable knock," Phehlukwayo said after the match.
"I think it's probably the best performance I've delivered so far.
"I'm just glad that finally the hard work that I've been putting in behind the scenes is coming off. There was obviously a bit of luck, but that's how the game goes and hopefully I can take that momentum going forward."
The performance, Phehlukwayo adds, is indicative of the mindset the Proteas are trying to embrace.
"It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that at any given time any individual can win us the game with bat or ball, even when you think the situation is out of our hands," he said.
"It's always reachable. Our mindset in the changeroom is that we are never dead and buried ... we always believe."
The third ODI takes place on Friday at Centurion.