AB de Villiers insists South Africa have not suffered any mental scars after another defeat chasing a total against Pakistan on Saturday.
South Africa’s confidence took a big blow after the defeat by 29 runs to Pakistan and it wasn’t for the first time.
De Villiers and his charges also suffered a heavy defeat to India earlier in the tournament, and it should be a concern that South Africa have lost their two most important and potentially difficult games of the pool stage.
The Proteas were considered favourites beforehand to beat their two sub-continent rivals. That hasn’t happened, and now the team needs to rebuild that confidence against the UAE on Thursday, although it remains doubtful how much confidence one can take from beating probably the weakest team at the tournament.
‘We didn’t have the intensity and energy levels against Pakistan, but it’s not a huge concern, said De Villiers.
‘Energy levels and mindset are things that can be controlled. It takes a couple of talks, especially with the senior group, who should take the lead. I think it’s difficult to have that high level of intensity and energy for every game at the World Cup.
‘I truly believe there’s nothing wrong with the batting line-up. If we want to, we can make it worse than it is, but we just didn’t play well. There are no scars, unless we make the scars ourselves. It’s about wanting to play good cricket. We are better players than we showed against Pakistan.
‘If anything, we can look at this game and say maybe it’s okay to get it wrong, even though I hate losing. It’s maybe not a bad time to go back to the drawing board and have an honest chat to each other about where we are going in this tournament and then move forward.’
De Villiers admitted that Vernon Philander failing a fitness test before the match was a bit of a curve-ball, but said he had full faith in the batting line-up.
‘Vernon is a good all-rounder, but Kyle Abbott has been bowling well in his absence. We need Vernon for that number eight batting spot and hopefully we can get him ready for the UAE game,’ De Villiers said.
After what happened against Pakistan, Philander, should he be fit, is unlikely to replace a batsman in the team with Kyle Abbott the most likely to miss out.
With the quality of the opposition in mind, Quinton de Kock may well get one last chance to bat himself into form before the play-offs.