South Africa will use the lessons they learned from their loss against Pakistan in the pool stages of the World Cup to prepare for their semi-final clash with New Zealand on Tuesday.
The semi-final will be played at Eden Park in Auckland, the same venue where South Africa lost their second pool game against Pakistan.
Neither team has ever won a World Cup semi-final match, which means one of them will be making history come Tuesday and qualify for their first ever final.
Asked at his pre-match press conference if South Africa will take anything specific from their loss against Pakistan into the semi-finals or start fresh, captain AB de Villiers said they would do a bit of both.
‘We definitely learnt some valuable lessons in that game. I was personally very disappointed with that loss. But having looked back now and reflected, I don’t think anything over 230 has ever been chased here in an ODI,’ said De Villiers.
‘It’s maybe not a bad thing to notice little things, going into the semi-finals; the way to go about it, not to panic when you lose a couple of wickets early or whatever happens. There’s no need to panic; you can always find your way back on this field and you can keep fighting right until the end. You’re never out of it.
‘I think the crowd will be a big influence, so we need to make sure we deal with that, as well, in our way. But yeah, it was just nice to play a great game of cricket here, and knowing that we’ve played here before. Not really too much of tactics and so on that we learned in that game but just knowing that we’ve been here before and know what it’s about. So I think that’ll play a big part.’
De Villiers was hesitant to call it the biggest game of his career, but did stress the importance of the occasion.
‘It’s a very important game,’ he acknowledged.
‘I think it’s right up there with one of the most important games I’ve ever played. I’ve played some games that’s been very important to me personally, Test cricket included. There’s been some very, very special moments in my career, so it’s difficult to say that it’s the most important game of my life.
‘Like I’ve said so many times before, every time I wear that shirt, I feel like it’s the most important game of my life. I’m not going to put too much emphasis and importance on this game, even though we know what it’s all about. I think the guys know enough. No need to motivate them too much and tell them the importance of tomorrow. We know how important it is. It’s a huge occasion for us.’