South Africa kept their 2013 ICC Champions Trophy hopes alive by scoring a comprehensive 67-run win over Pakistan in a Group B tie in Birmingham on Monday evening. A loss at Edgbaston would have dented their chances but the Proteas played with grit and discipline to transfer the likelihood of an early exit on Pakistan. South Africa captain AB de Villiers relished the much-needed win. (Match report)
"I am delighted with this victory, a lot of things about our side pleased me today. We played well against India, but was very disappointing to lose, so this is quite relieving," De Villiers said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
After opting to bat, South Africa played steadily but could not dominate the Pakistan attack and lost crucial wickets toward the latter stages to be restricted to 234 for 9. De Villiers praised his side's all-round show. (Match images)
"To get over 200 runs against such a potent attack of the Pakistanis was a good job by our batsmen on this wicket. Not many teams would have done that. We set it up nicely with the bat well but was not satisfied with 234 as couple of run outs stopped us towards the end. Knew over 200 would be difficult to chase. It was good to see debutant Chris Morris contribute (2 wickets) and the three spinners doing well," he added.
In another news that will prep up the Proteas fans, De Villiers hinted of Dale Steyn's return for the next game which will bolster the bowling attack further. "I think Dale will be fit enough for the next match," he said.
On the other hand, Misbah ul-Haq looked shell-shocked with a hurting result. (Read: Match stats)
"It was a good effort by bowlers but the target was achievable. We just could not rotate strike and keep run rate up. I don't know what's happening with the guys, they looked in such great spirits before the start of the tournament with good showings in the warm-up games," Misbah said.
Man of the match for his crucial 81, Hashim Amla praised his side's measured approach with the bat for putting up a more than fighting score.
"Wicket was difficult to bat upfront. We got mini partnerships that took us to 230-odd. It's tough going with two new white balls. We managed to see that off. Fortunately the guys have come good in absence of some big players," Amla said.