New Delhi: South Africa captain Graeme Smith was a happy man after his side registered a comprehensive win over West Indies in their opening match of the World Cup here on Thursday and praised AB de Villiers for his stellar performance with the bat.
After restricting West Indies to 222, South Africa, riding on De Villiers’ unbeaten 105-ball 107, overhauled the target with seven wickets in hand in 42,5 overs.
“Winning the toss was nice and we started off reasonably well. I am very very happy with the performance,” Smith said after the match.
Even though he scored 45, his stay at the crease was a struggle and Smith admitted that he wasn’t at his fluent best on Thursday and was just trying to give De Villiers company, who was going all guns blazing at the other end.
“My batting wasn’t the best. I have been a little ill coming into the game, so I just wanted to bat through with AB (de Villiers) and build a partnership. AB went faster than run a ball and paced it real well. He played incredibly well. He controlled the innings superbly,” Smith said.
Smith also praised his bowlers for restricting the West Indies to the modest score after they were comfortably placed at 113 for two at one stage.
“Darren Bravo played really well, but we managed to peg it back in the middle. We tried to mix it up in the middle. Once you pick a wicket, you can build pressure and we managed to pick up wickets in clusters,” he said.
His West Indian counterpart Darren Sammy praised young Darren Bravo for his superb 73 that came off 82 balls but said they needed a batsmen to bat till the end.
“We had an opportunity to get a lot more runs. We needed someone to play like AB did for South Africa. But there were a few positives from the match. Darren Bravo played really well and we hope he can continue. We kept losing wickets in clusters, and it did not help,” he said.
West Indies were also done in by an injury to all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who hurt his knee while bowling and had to be carried off the field.
Bravo is expected to undergo a scan on Friday after which it will be known whether he will be taking further part in the tournament or not.
“Losing Dwayne was not good for us. We don’t know the extent of the injury yet. Hopefully he’ll be ok,” Sammy said.
Man-of-the-match De Villiers, who played for Delhi Daredevils in the first three editions of the Indian Premier League, said his experience of playing at the Feroze Shah Kotla helped South Africa in on Thursday’s match.
“It (prior IPL experience in Delhi) helped a bit. It was my advice to bat second, and that worked for us tonight.”
De Villiers also lauded Pakistan-born South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir (4/41) for his impressive debut.
“I wasn’t timing it in the nets last week, but it came off well tonight. He (Tahir) is an amazing talent and it’s great to have him in the side,” he said.