“We’re very hungry for success. We’re hungry to create history as a cricket team,” AB de Villiers said after the Proteas dominated India to claim victory in the limited overs series.
It was that hunger and determination that helped South Africa smash a slew of record during the fifth and final one day international of the series on the weekend.
With the teams locked at two all the final encounter was expected to be a thriller. But the South Africans had other ideas and delivered a complete performance with bat and ball.
“It was obviously a huge game. A final with history on the line. In that regard it’s definitely the biggest and best game I’ve captained the side in. Just a complete performance with bat and ball and very proud of the boys,” De Villiers, who had the crowd in raptures as he became the first South African to 23 international three figure scores in the 50-over format, said.
He would eventually go on to become the top run scorer in the series with a haul of 358, closely followed by Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock – both of whom added centuries of their own in Mumbai as part of a mammoth 438/4 total.
“He controlled the innings exceptionally well. He allowed myself and Quinton to just free up and it’s because of his stability at the other end,” De Villiers said of Du Plessis’ knock of 133, one that saw him cramping up badly.
“To show that kind of determination at the end was incredible. I don’t think he got a lot of credit but the knock he played was the most important of the three.”
There was also credit for the seam bowlers as Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn were credited with snuffing out and hopes India had of a successful chase. Both ended the series as top wicket takers with 10 victims each while Morne Morkel, injured for the last two games, claimed seven scalps.
“I think all the seamers had fantastic series. They hit their straps extremely well. The bowlers set the trend and it was followed up by a clever mixture of pace and aggression,” said De Villiers.
By becoming the first side to ever win a T20 and limited overs bilateral series double the Proteas have probably placed a target on their backs ahead of the four match Test series and De Villiers is well aware of the fact.
“It’s an incredible achievement by us to win both series. I have a feeling that the Test matches will be a big challenge. India will want to come back harder and stronger and we know they have the ability to do that.
“We’ll be up for it. There’s no reason why we can’t win the Test series but we know there’s a lot of work ahead.”