TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
SA would have reached the triseries final had they beaten Australia in Barbados on Sunday. Instead, rain and a pitch that got wet allowed no more than a single over to be bowled. Now what?
AB de Villiers’ team remain on top of the log by a point from the Aussies, who are three points ahead of West Indies.
If Australia beat the Windies on Tuesday SA would need to win against the home side on Friday. The Aussies will be out of the running if West Indies win on Tuesday, a result that would put SA in the final.
SA’s focus will thus be fixed on what they might have to do on Friday, and AB de Villiers tried hard to fix it there after Sunday’s game.
“We’ve played quite a few really close series in the past, like this one, where we’ve had a few must-win games,” De Villiers told reporters at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.
“In our last series, against England (in SA in February), we were 2-0 down with three to play and we won all three.
“So we’ve been in this situation before. We enjoy those kind of situations. We like to bring the fight when it matters most. It’s a great opportunity for us to prove that we are that kind of team under pressure.”
How might De Villiers ensure that SA, who despite the England example have a reputation for slipping out the back door when the kitchen gets hot, are “that kind of team” on Friday?
“It’s all about reading the situation and reading where your team’s at,” he said. “As captain and coach we closely follow what kind of space the team is in.
“There are certain mornings where I see the guys strolling around a bit and they need a bit of a kick to get going. On other mornings I feel the energy’s in a really good place. So I just let it go and keep it low key.
“It changes from day to day and I’ll try and assess that again at training and when we arrive here that morning for that big, must-win game.”
De Villiers would have been forgiven for feeling he had been shot in this movie before – in Bangalore in November, in fact.
The second test of SA’s series in England last season was De Villiers’ 100th game in the format. But the celebration was dampened by rain that prevented any play after the first day.
Sunday’s match was his 200th one-day international …
“I’m not too fussed about that kind of thing, the fact that it rained off,” De Villiers said. “Yes, it’s a nice milestone and a way to look back over my career – how lucky I’ve been to play so many games and have been around for so long.
“Hopefully there will be a few more moments to enjoy.”
Like holding up a trophy at Kensington Oval on Sunday.