South Africa were lacking some ‘Protea fire’ despite beating New Zealand in the first of three ODI’s on Wednesday.
That is the view of captain AB de Villiers, who lamented his side’s lack of energy, especially in the field. South Africa still managed to win by 20 runs, despite dropping a few catches.
‘I don’t think we had a good night with the ball in hand,’ De Villiers said. ‘Our skills were pretty good but our energy was lacking a little bit. I’m disappointed with our energy in the field together as a unit. That probably just comes with a bit of time. There are a couple of new faces who need to get used to the way I captain and the way we operate as a team.
‘We were lacking that energy and Protea fire that we always talk about and we need to work on that for Sunday’s game. I felt if we had that kind of energy it would have been a walkover, but it wasn’t, they were in the game and if you let quality sides into the game they tend to win more often than not, so luckily we got away with that.’
Vernon Philander and Imran Tahir stood out with the ball, while David Wiese had a slower start to his ODI debut.
‘Vernon, Dale [Steyn], Imran bowled really, really well. KG [Kagiso Rabada] bowled well in spells, he just needs a little bit of experience and it’s our responsibility to get it through to him. Other than that, it’s a win and we’ll take it, although it was a little closer than I was hoping.’
De Villiers praised the match-winning partnership between Hashim Amla (124) and Rilee Rossouw (89), who shared a 185-run partnership which set the foundation for the likes of De Villiers and David Miller to accelerate towards the end.
That didn’t happen, however, as the lower order all got going but failed to stay in long enough to really do some damage.
‘The match-winning partnership between Hashim and Rilee set it up nicely. When I came out it was really difficult to bat; the ball was soft and difficult to get away,’ De Villiers explained.
He rated the batting 8/10, the bowling 7/10 and the fielding effort a miserable 4/10.
The skipper said he had ‘no idea’ what to expect from the conditions in Potchefstroom, where the second ODI will be played.
‘Usually it’s a good batting wicket with a very quick outfield, but it might be a bit slower because it’s early in the season. Our spinners might come into play there.’