• ‘We were obsessed with winning’

    After winning their first ever World Cup play-off match, AB de Villiers says South Africa are quietly confident they can go all the way and win the World Cup.

    South Africa produced a complete performance in beating Sri Lanka by nine wickets and progressing to the semi-finals in Auckland next Tuesday.

    The Proteas looked nervous after De Villiers lost the toss and they were asked to bowl first, but the bowlers produced a clinical performance and helped South Africa take a big step in eliminating the ‘chokers’ tag they have been stuck with for years.

    ‘I didn’t have to do much before the game, the guys were very motivated,’ said De Villiers.

    ‘You never know what to expect in these games, but we rocked up mentally. We were almost obsessed with our goal; we wanted to win.

    ‘The bowlers were incredible. It was one of the best bowling performances I’ve seen. The bowling unit worked really well together and they were backed up by the fielding.’

    Another boost for the team was Quinton de Kock’s unbeaten knock of 78 off 57 balls after he struggled for runs since the start of the tournament.

    ‘Getting runs was crucial for him,’ said De Villers.

    ‘Credit to the selectors and the coach who kept backing him.¬†They must have been tempted to drop him. It was an amazing knock. It’s good to have him back and I look forward to seeing him bat at the top of the order in the next game.’

    It was a game in which South Africa’s spinners, Imran Tahir and JP Duminy (who took a hat-trick) made a massive difference with the ball, taking seven wickets between them after the seamers laid a good foundation up front. ‘The spinners came in a crucial stage of the game,’ said De Villiers. ‘I decided to extend the spell of the seamers up front to give them more time with the new ball. I knew JP was probably going to have to bowl 10 overs.’De Villiers said he knew they still had a long way to go.’We haven’t won the World Cup yet. This victory means a lot to us. Confidence is a big part of sport and we really feel strong as a unit. We like being called chokers, as long as we keep on winning.’We showed everyone we can do it. We were committed to the fact that we are not going to show any weakness. Everyone had belief in the guy next to him and it’s those little things that play a big role in games like this.

    ‘It’s like having a fish on a hook. All we have to do now is reel it in and work hard. We have more than enough time to recover for the semi-final.’