We are taking one game at a time: Smith
Mohali: With two comprehensive victories under their belt, South Africa have already stamped their authority in this World Cup but captain Graeme Smith made it clear that it is just the beginning of a long tournament and they have adopted the policy of taking it “one game at a time.”
“I am relaxed to be honest. It is a long tournament and we are taking it one at a time. There is no point thinking about a game ten days in advance. So I am not really thinking about topping the pool already. We are just focused on the game against England,” Smith said after South Africa thrashed the Netherlands by 231 runs, at the PCA stadium on Thursday.
“We have got two big games coming up against India and England. We just want to carry on playing well and keep our confidence high. We have a long flight to Chennai tomorrow and hopefully we will play well there,” he added.
South Africa next face England in Chennai on Sunday.
On whether India’s bowling is their weak link and the Proteas would be looking to take advantage of that when the two teams face each other later in the league stage, Smith said his team was not even thinking about the hosts yet.
“We have played against India enough in the recent past. I would not want to comment anything on that match. We are not thinking about India at the moment. We will be looking at England first, which is our next game and then plan for India.”
Defending Proteas’ slow start on Thursday against the Dutch as they crawled to 100 in 23rd over, Smith said that the plan was to set up a strong base.
“We knew that there would seam movement because of cool weather. It had rained yesterday and we knew there would be something in the wicket. So the plan was to settle down and set a platform for a big score. Thanks to Hashim (Amla) and AB (de Villiers) we managed to do that. It was a good win for us on Thursday,” explained Smith.
The skipper termed Duminy’s 15-ball 40 as a terrific innings.
“Batting with the new ball was a little easier. Conditions changed a lot during the courses of the day but we that is what we expected out of Mohali.”
The non-inclusion of T20 skipper Johan Botha was a tactical decision, said Smith.
“Keeping the nature of the pitch in mind, we went for an extra batsman in Morne van Wyk. It was a tactical decision and something that will change from match to match,” he added.
“It is terrific to have options with pace and spin. We will face different challenges ahead and will set up team combination based on that.”
When asked about yesterday’s match where Kevin O’Brien’s heroics shocked England, Smith said, “I could not sleep for an hour after the Ireland match. I think it was a great game of cricket.”
“With the performance in this and the last World Cup, Ireland have proven that they have really improved. They are capable of beating any team. It was just great to see the spirit in which they played.”
When asked about the on-going UDRS (Umpires’ Decision Review System) controversy, Smith chose to play it down.
“I am fine with the UDRS rule. It was communicated to us and we can’t do anything about it.”
Meanwhile, riding on the success of back-to-back centuries from as many games in the World Cup so far, AB de Villiers said he just concentrated on playing his natural game and stuck to the basics.
“I just played my natural game. I focused on the basics like watching the ball closely. There is no secret. Just played the game,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman after he hitting a fabulous 98-balls 134 in the match on Thursday.
Man-of-the-match in the previous game as well as on Thursday, De Villiers hit an unbeaten 107 in South Africa’s seven-wicket win over the West Indies in the tournament opener in New Delhi.
“I have been enjoying my batting at the moment. I have been striving to get into this form. It’s great to be back in form,” said De Villiers.
“I started timing the ball really well. I could pace the innings quite well. It was good to express my freedom as well,” he concluded.