• Proteas ‘can win World Cup’

    ODI captain AB de Villiers has said that Wednesday’s clinical victory over Australia was a good indicator of the side’s progress ahead of the World Cup.

    ‘It’s great confidence for us moving forward. We haven’t chased very well in the past and for us to cross the line like that means a lot to all of us. It’s a great boost of confidence for all of us.’

    De Villiers, who scored an unbeaten 136 in the fixture, was particularly pleased with the chase in light of the side’s preparations for the World Cup, and believes the Proteas are now on the right track just six months away from the showpiece event.

    ‘There is no doubt that we have what it takes to win a World Cup. We are a long way away from the finished product, but we are moving in the right direction. It’s important for us to stay in the now; we have a big game coming up against Zimbabwe on Friday so our focus is on that.’

    There was also praise for Faf du Plessis, who scored his maiden ton in the format, ending on 106. ‘I’m extremely proud and happy for him. He has been under pressure from a lot of people in the ODI format so for him to score the hundred today was big.

    ‘We have always had a lot of belief in him as a player and he has been our rock for the last while. He is playing unbelievable cricket at the moment and I’m really happy for him. He has proved a lot of people wrong – I know he doesn’t play the game for that reason- but he is in great form and hopefully he can maintain that.’

    The issue of choosing to bowl first came up, but De Villiers insisted he did not make that decision based on testing South Africa’s ability to chase. ‘Our reason to bowl first was not to practise chasing. When you play Australia you play to win a game of cricket.

    ‘I felt that we had our best chance bowling first and thought that there would be a bit of moisture in the first 10 overs. If I look back now I probably would have batted first. I’m still very happy with the victory, it was a great chase and a great team effort.’

    South Africa now lie second on the points table, one behind Australia, who claimed a bonus point in their clash against Zimbabwe on Monday. However, they have a chance to go past the Aussies on Friday, when they meet the Triangular series hosts in Harare, starting at 9:30am.

    We’ll have regular score updates on Facebook and Twitter throughout the game.

    Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images

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    Dan Gillespie