India vs South Africa: It`s important to keep our feet on ground, says AB de Villiers
Johannesburg: He is elated that the strategy worked out in the dressing room was executed to perfection on the field in the opening ODI against India but South African captain AB de Villiers wants his teammates to remain grounded as he feels the visitors will bounce back in the remaining two games.
South Africa beat India by 141 runs yesterday in the opening ODI after piling up 358/4 here.
"...It doesn`t mean that we are certainly going to win the series. There is a lot of hard work to be done. Durban will be a lot more suited to the Indians and they can bounce back. So it is important to keep our feet on the ground," he added," said de Villiers in a post-match press conference.
Despite the hammering his batsmen handed out to Indian bowlers, de Villiers felt the visitors cannot be called bad.
"India are certainly not a poor bowling line up. They do have the skill but they bowled a little bit short in the first five or ten overs. That gave us a big boost and confidence, and some momentum going forward," he explained.
"Not losing wickets in the first 10 overs at the Wanderers is always huge, no matter how many runs you score. It sets you up nicely for the last 40 overs and that is what happened today. It is quite handy keeping wickets in hand especially against a team like India," said de Villiers.
With this win, the hosts go 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series. The focus now shifts to the second ODI in Durban on Sunday and Team India will be under immense pressure not to concede the series there itself.
"It was certainly very important for us to start off the series like that. It is not easy for sub-continental teams to tour South Africa. It is important to never allow them to get any momentum going ahead. So this first game was always going to be important in that sense," de Villiers said.
South Africa piling on a huge total was mainly down to two partnerships -- the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, and later when JP Duminy and the skipper himself got together, battering India in the death overs.
"Both Hashim and Quinton complement each other. They are world class players, with Amla`s patience mixing well with the fearless attitude of Quinton. Their left-right combination is working well. He has a long way to go and he is learning all the time," de Villiers said.
"I am very happy to see him grow as a player. It wasn`t easy to leave Graeme Smith out, but after looking at the pitch, I thought playing an extra fast bowler would be a better option than playing seven batsmen. And it proved to be so," he said.
"We got a sniff early on, and it started feeling easy as the boundaries started to flow in. It was about the 41st or 42nd over. And then we pushed on, trying to get 50 off last 30 balls," added de Villiers, about the death-overs` assault.
After a superb batting display on a pitch where they scored way above the par-plus score, their bowling also got the better of the young and eyeball-grabbing Indian batting line-up.
Spearheading their charge was the magnificent Dale Steyn, nearly unplayable for three of his eight overs.
"From what I have seen of him, Steyn is in a very good place in his life and it is showing on the field as well. He is a very skillful bowler obviously and it is a pleaser to have him in the side. He leads the bowling very well and even today he set it up beautifully for the others," de Villiers said.
When reminded that he himself had enjoyed some success against his best fast bowler, de Villiers put it down to chance.
"I was lucky not to get out, and it was only because I had decided to hit out. I don`t know how it worked. So, if other batsmen want to have a go at him, best of luck to them. Just be prepared to get out," he said sheepishly.