• AB: Good starts are key

    AB de Villiers praised Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla’s opening stand in the third ODI against England and said more of the same is needed if South Africa want to win the series.

    The opening partnership of 239 runs enabled the Proteas to comfortably chase down England’s target of 319 which was a record chase at Centurion. De Kock was in sparkling form as he scored his second hundred of the series with 135 from 117 balls. He was well supported by Amla, who hit 127 from 130 deliveries.

    It was a much improved performance by the South Africa which gave them a seven-wicket win as they try and fight their way back into the series. England have a 2-1 lead with two games to play.

    De Villiers said he hoped this performance will be a turning point for South Africa.

    ‘We were pretty desperate to get a result in this game,’ De Villiers said. ‘It’s hopefully the sign of really good things to come. I thought we did the basics really well.

    ‘I was very pleased with the energy we had. I think you can always rate the morale of the side in the way they field out there. We showed a lot of hunger in the field. Even though we were 2-0 down we had a lot of hunger to win the game.’

    De Kock became the youngest player ever to reach 10 ODI centuries. His stand of 200 with Amla was the third time that has ben achieved by a South African opening pair in ODIs.

    ‘Amazing,’ De Villiers said of their performance. ‘Both are in really good form at the moment. I think of you get opening partnerships like that, not just the 200-plus but if you get good solid starts, it makes it so much easier for the batting line-up to understand the rhythm of the game and to get your pace right. It just frees the middle order up a lot. It helped us a lot tonight and hopefully there’s more to come in the rest of the series.’

    All-rounder David Wiese replaced Rilee Rossouw for this game and took 1-64 with the ball. He was sent in to bat at No 3 after De Kock got out but only faced four balls for his seven runs.

    ‘I don’t think the balance of the side was bad before,’ De Villiers said. ‘Dave brings a lot to the party with bat and ball. He plays the game the right way and that is what I like about him. He’s got a great attitude and always willing to try things out and have an impact in us winning the game so I was very happy with his performance.’


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