AB de Villiers labelled South Africa’s batting performance against Pakistan as ‘shocking’ after they lost by 29 runs chasing 232 in Auckland on Saturday.
South Africa lost their second pool match chasing a target after they restricted Pakistan to 222. Their target was adjusted to 232 due to the Duckworth/Lewis-method.
The Proteas batsmen slumped to 77-5 after they were comfortable at 63-1. In the end, De Villiers (77) almost managed to guide them home, but he lost his wicket with 33 runs still to get and the chase ended shortly thereafter.
‘I still think we are in a decent position in the group, said De Villiers after the game. South Africa remain second in pool B after India.
‘I never enjoy losing, it’s very painful. We didn’t play good cricket today. We were okay with the ball in hand, but shocking with the bat. I expect us to get more partnerships going among the top seven batters. I’m not happy with that.
‘I wont say we felt uneasy chasing after losing wickets fairly early. It just wasn’t good enough.’
De Villiers pointed to South Africa’s next match against the UAE on Thursday as an important one. They are still second in pool B, and will remain there if they win their last pool game.
‘We have to recover against the UAE,’ said De Villiers.
‘I still believe we have the right group of players to lift the World Cup. We’ll keep our feet on the ground and continue to work hard. It wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on, but there is no reason we shouldn’t be chasing that kind of target.’
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq admitted that this victory was a ‘giant-killing’ for their team.
‘It’s a big win for us,’ Ul-Haq said. ‘We had to win this game. I thought we were 30-40 runs short today. Our bowling plan was simple. With four strike bowlers you need to take your chances, and the bowlers did very well.
‘Everybody believes now and we take a lot of confidence out of this victory. We need to stay focussed, because we also need to win our last game of the pool stage.’
South Africa will need to take a good, hard look at their team selections going forward. The batting order, which is the team’s biggest strength, failed miserably on a day which the bowlers did well.
Quinton de Kock and David Miller were dismissed for ducks, while Rilee Rossouw, JP Duminy and Dale Steyn played silly, unnecessary shots to get out.