Proud to beat the No.1 ODI team: AB de Villiers
South Africa took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match ODI series against world number one India and captain A B de Villiers felt that his team ought to be proud of this achievement
The hosts clinched the series after winning the second one-dayer here by 134 runs. "Winning seven out of our last ten ODIs means we are definitely on the right track. There have been problems for us when it comes to consistency. We have been going through some tough times over the last two years in ODI cricket and sort of building a team.
"We have been sticking with the same players for a while now and we are enjoying our cricket. The results are starting to come through but we are nowhere where we want to be. But obviously, winning the series against the no.1 side in the world is very satisfying. It is something we can really be proud of," he said.
South Africa put up 281 runs on the board, after a wet outfield delayed the start of the match and the contest was reduced to 49 overs per side. In reply, India were bundled out for 146 in 35.1 overs.
Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla put on 194 runs for the first wicket and in doing so, brought up their individual hundreds. The middle order didn't fire though, unlike at Wanderers, with the captain coming up at number three himself and falling cheaply. It left the task to Ryan McLaren and Vernon Philander to give them a push in the latter overs.
"Hashim and Quinton have been giving us really good starts, and today it was sort of finished off nicely by the middle and lower order. I was chuffed at how the lower order scored some runs today. Those were very important runs. They just got us over that par score, which I thought was 230-240. 280 all of a sudden looked like really good score," he said.
"I am hopefully still a wicketkeeper in the Tests," said the Proteas' ODI captain, when asked about the form of young Quinton de Kock in particular. "Quinny is obviously showing he has got the skill and the talent to keep in all three formats of the game. Maybe he still has got to get a bit of experience to gain when it comes to Tests. It is up to the selectors to decide, and the coach and the captain to make that call."
Meanwhile, Umesh Yadav gave away 20 runs in the 49th and final over of the Proteas' innings, and perhaps shifted the momentum towards the hosts. When they came out to field, Dale Steyn and company were raring to go once again. The lead bowler shared seven wickets with Lowan Tsotsobe as they ripped apart the Indian batting.
"Our batsmen set up the win. There is old saying, when you have got the runs on the board the opposition is under pressure. It gave the bowlers a lot of freedom to express their talent, the pace and bounce that is talked about. Hopefully we did scare off a few of their batsmen going into the final ODI and the Test series too," de Villiers said.
"It's always nice to sort of scare a few batsmen going into a big series like this, especially a batting line-up like the Indian team has. I think they are very talented and to sort of get under their skin is always important, especially in home conditions," he added. It brought about the question of the third ODI at Centurion on December 11, and whether South Africa will be resting their players for the dead encounter, particularly since they chose to do so against Pakistan recently.
"We might rest some of the older guys. Jacques Kallis might have to rest going into a big Test series. Daye Steyn may be as well, but Morne Morkel had a good rest against Pakistan. So we will talk about it," he said. "But I don't believe in dead rubbers. There is a lot to play for. I expect India to come back in the third ODI. There is a lot of pride to play for. It will be massive for us to beat them 3-0. They are still a world-class unit and we will always have respect for them as a team," he signed off.