South Africa is building good momentum ahead to the quarter-finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup. The Proteas finished the group stages with a 146-run win over the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday, and captain, AB De Villiers says the match was good all-round exercise for his squad. Most of the batsmen spent some valuable time out in the middle, along with the part-time bowlers, who went for 3/38 in 10 overs.
After the match De Villiers: ‘It was a good performance, these are always tricky games. I thought they (UAE) bowled pretty well up front and made it difficult for us. It was one of my harder knocks out there today, it was really had work. We got a nice foundation again, which I’m very happy about, we could free up nicely towards the end. I’m also happy about the fact that Quinny (De Kock) and Farhaan (Behardien) scored some runs. Some of the lower-order also got an opportunity to hit a couple of balls, even Vernon (Philander) got in. Those kind of things will definitely help us going into the knockout round.’ De Villiers says it was a difficult decision not to give some of the fringe players a go, especially Aaron Phangiso, who is yet to play a game. He, however, backed the left-arm spinner to perform if he was needed “coming in from the cold”.
He said: ‘It was a tough decision for us. We were very tempted to play Phangiso in the team. It’s been a long tour for him, but his attitude has been superb, and I’ve got to compliment him on that. He works really hard in the nets. I know what he’s capable of, so I won’t be worried if something were to happen to Imran Tahir and we’ll have to play him in one of the knockout games. He’s a big-match player, he always has been. I bowled him in those final overs in PE for a reason because he’s always that kind of guy that wins you a match when it matters most. There’s absolutely nothing that I worry about when it comes down to that. He works really hard and his game is in a good place. I’ve faced him in the nets, I’m assessing his performance and I know he’s in a good place. If his opportunity comes, I know he’ll grab it with both hands.’ The Proteas travel to Sydney on Saturday where they will await confirmation of their quarter-final opponents.