Proteas need to hit the ground running to save series – AB de Villiers

2013-11-26 16:37

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Proteas Captain AB de Villiers says South Africa need to hit the ground running when they meet Pakistan in a potential series decider at St George’s Park tomorrow.

The Proteas have their backs to the wall after going down to the visitors in the opening encounter at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday. With only two matches remaining, De Villiers knows exactly how important tomorrow’s match will be.

Adding more pressure to the situation was why South Africa had never lost a bilateral series against Pakistan, home or away.

“We’re under a bit of pressure. I don’t think Pakistan have won a series here in South Africa so there’s a lot to play for us as a team,” De Villiers said in Port Elizabeth today.

“Obviously we didn’t play well in the previous game and we’d like to fix that as well. From a general point of view, we’d like to play a good game of cricket tomorrow.”

The pitch at St George’s was likely to be low and slow which would play directly into the hands of Pakistan’s spin trio – Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez.

But De Villiers says conditions would not be foreign to them.

“We’ve just come from the UAE where the wickets were low and slow. We are used to that now. We had a very good ODI series there winning it 4-1. I think it’s going to be similar to that tomorrow.

“I hope there is not too much advantage taken out of the toss tomorrow. We’d like an even game throughout the 100 overs.”

South Africa could make one change to their line-up from Sunday’s match with pressure to recall allrounder Ryan McLaren. If McLaren played, it was possible Vernon Philander would be the player to miss out.

“There might be one change, we still deciding,” said De Villiers. “It’s difficult to make changes because I don’t think there was anything wrong with the team selection in the previous game.

“It was definitely a good enough team to beat Pakistan but we just didn’t play well as a side together. We’re still speaking about making maybe one or two changes.

“There is no need for panic. We are still a good side and we will go out there to win tomorrow.”

Pakistan came back strongly after losing the ODI series in the United Arab Emirates but it did not surprise the South African skipper.

“When you lose a lot of games, you get to the stage where you become a bit desperate and you really start pushing harder. The hunger is high enough and you seem to find a way to make it work.

“So credit to them for that. I still believe we have the better team and we going to try and show that tomorrow and again in Centurion.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said his team would be chasing the elusive series win.

“Any series is important but we haven’t won a bilateral series against South Africa before. So it’s very important to keep in mind that this game is more important for us.”

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