AB called on his troops to believe

For most of the five match series against England, South African cricket fans had their hearts in their mouths.

It was a rollercoaster few weeks as the Proteas lost the first two games of the series before rallying back and, thanks to another brilliant century by their captain AB de Villiers, securing the honours in the decider at Newlands on the weekend.

“I think the belief was still there after the first two ODIs. If things happened differently we could have won the first two ODIs that’s how I felt but we had to come back from a difficult situation,” De Villiers said of the historic victory.

It was only the third time in the sport’s history that a team has been able to overturn a two match deficit and still go on to claim series honours.

“It was a close series and credit to England for playing good cricket. I think they had us under pressure for all five games. I think the difference was probably, something that I harp on a lot about, was hunger. I think we were maybe a bit more hungry to really nail it down and create history. To come back from 2-0 is something really special,” said De Villiers.

“We didn’t lose the belief and I asked the guys to keep their spirits up and to have the faith that we could come back in the series and to take it one step at a time.”

And now the most important part of England’s lengthy tour awaits with two T20 internationals signalling the start of the final preparations for next month’s ICC World T20 competition in India.

The fact that they pulled off a memorable win, and with most of the one day international side also doing duty in the shorter format means that confidence levels will be high heading into Friday’s first game at Newlands.

“We’re going to have to start from scratch again but it’s nice to finish the ODIs like that. Two T20s against England and then three against Australia.

“Really important five games for us to find something special leading to the T20 World cup. It’s really important for us to focus to make sure we go into that world cup with a good amount of confidence,” said De Villiers.

One aspect to South Africa’s makeup for the last two matches of the one day international series was the fact that they decided to veer away from their usual seven batsmen approach and incorporate the services of all-rounders David Wiese and Chris Morris.

It meant that the part-time bowling efforts of JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien were surplus to requirements.

“We haven’t moved away from that seven batsman option. It’s always something to look at in different situations. We haven’t thrown it out the window but Dave and Chris brought a different dynamic,” De Villiers said of the change in approach.

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