Proteas captain AB de Villiers has singled out his bowlers as key to their six-wicket victory over the Kiwis on Saturday.
They dropped to second on the ODI rankings after their loss to New Zealand in the fourth ODI in Hamilton, but reclaimed the No 1 spot by destroying the hosts and claiming a 3-2 series victory.
South Africa’s bowling unit once again proved their worth bundling out the Black Caps for 149, which was their second-lowest total in Aukland. Kagiso Rabada (3-25) and Andile Phehlukwayo (2-35) showed maturity beyond their years by taking important wickets to keep the pressure on the hosts, while Tahir (2-14) chipped in to help Rabada finish off the job. Chris Morris took one scalp for 35 to seal a brilliant bowling performance by the group.
De Villiers was delighted with the way his bowlers manipulated the various conditions throughout the series and commended their drive for taking wickets irrespective of changes in the order of the bowling lineup.
‘It was a great performance tonight. We started off well with the ball in hand, we put a lot of pressure on New Zealand and got wickets at the right time. A lot of credit goes to our bowlers,’ he said.
‘Everyday is a different plan. I try to assess the conditions as a captain and try to mix it up with the bowlers and try to think about who the best bowler is to take wickets at the specific time. Tonight was different to previous games. There were different rhythms and it all worked.’
The Proteas have yet to find a consistent new-ball pair, but this has not bothered De Villiers who believes there is no rush to do so as gameplans continuously change.
‘It changes from game-to-game, there’s no need to commit to an opening partnership. Whoever takes the new ball will take it for a specific reason on the day, according to conditions or specific batters,’ he said. ‘Tonight Morris and Rabada did well to control the game.’
‘We have been getting 10 wickets very often which is a good sign. We don’t have 4-5 seamers around the 145 km/h mark, but we have a great mix with Imran counting as a strike bowler in his own right. There’s a good mix, control and calmness amongst the bowling unit which makes it nice for me to captain.’
Rabada is happy with the progression amongst the new group of bowlers.
‘It’s a new attack, not much experience so it’s nice to go through things together. We hope the same guys stay in the team and if new guys come in we can teach them. We started together since Australia and have won every series since. We have a lot of variety and there’s a balance between experience and youth and we’ve bowled well the whole series.’
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