The first-choice Proteas batting line-up for the World Cup would be like the one which beat the West Indies by 61 runs on Friday night, says ODI captain AB de Villiers
‘We just feel that the balance is right. It’s a good feel. It’s like picking up a good bat, you just get a nice feel for the bat and I get a good feel when the batting line-up looks like that,’ he said.
And while he acknowledged that others in the squad needed to have an outing in this five-match series, he wanted to present the same team for the second ODI, in Johannesburg on Sunday.
‘It’s probably the way that we want to go in the series. JP [Duminy] gives us some experience towards the back end and we know how dangerous Dave [Miller] can be and how positive he can be around a lot of senior guys,” De Villiers said after the game. ‘We want to give everyone a chance in the middle, but at the same time there is a series to win, and we to get off to a good start. I would like the same team for the next game.
‘Throw in a guy like Dave with a bit of flair, you know how dangerous he can be if he bats for 20, 30 overs. He can take the game away from the opposition. If he comes off, well and good, but if he doesn’t we still have JP and Farhaan [Behardien] to back up.’
AB’s score of 81 led a spirited attack after two wickets had gone down for 16 runs, sharing a stand of 99 with Hashim Amla (66) and a partnership of 123 with David Miller (70) but the innings fell away from the 40th over when it could have kicked on to a truly formidable total. The Proteas lost five wickets for 41 runs.
De Villiers was unfazed: ‘It is a really difficult wicket to finish on. I knew that, we are all aware of it. It wasn’t easy. They bowled really well at the end as well. It’s not a concern,’ he said.
‘We are not yet where we want to be going into the World Cup, but we are getting there.’
Imran Tahir’s leg-spin led the destruction of the Windies line-up after Dale Steyn had removed Chris Gayle (41 off 26). Apart from taking three wickets, Tahir and off-spinner Duminy blocked the run-rate, forcing a series of rash strokes from the visitors.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder said that it was not all doom and gloom for his team, despite the loss.
‘There are a few positives we can take from the game. We got off to a good start when we batted and bowled. We just lost our way a bit in the middle. When we bowled we gave up a few boundaries in the middle, which put the pressure back on us. But we came back well in the latter stages of the innings which pulled back the scoring to under 300,’ he said.