Having lost the three-match ODI series 2-1 against Pakistan at home, South African skipper AB De Villiers says he has the bowlers to put high-flying India under pressure in the three-match ODI series starting this week. Having won 22 matches out of 31 ODIs in 2013, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Team India flew into Johannesburg on Monday morning to keep their limited overs juggernaut rolling overseas, but De Villiers has indicated his boys were spoiling for a fight. (Read: Adjusting to South African conditions will be tough for Indians, says Omar Henry)
The top three run-getters in limited overs cricket this year have been Indians but De Villiers is relying on his diverse bowling attack to hurt an accomplished line-up that bats as deep as No. 8. "There are a few things to consider: In India, where they've played most of their games, the grounds are small so boundaries are easier to hit, and the new ball isn't as influential as it will be here. We have to look after the new ball better than we would in India," said De Villiers after South Africa beat Pakistan in the third ODI at Centurion on Saturday. (Read: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hints he will miss Gautam Gambhir in South Africa)
"Our bowling unit is also an experienced one, even when Dale (Steyn) isn't there guys like Ryan McLaren, Vernon (Philander) and Wayne Parnell, are all familiar with conditions in South Africa, they've played a lot of domestic cricket and that experience is valuable," said De Villiers, who feels his bowlers can contain the free-scoring Indian top-order. (Read: Zaheer Khan needs express pace to be effective, says Fanie de Villiers)
Thanks to Indian Premier League, De Villiers is well aware of the destructive nature of his Royal Challengers Bangalore teammate Virat Kohli, a Shikhar Dhawan (Hyderabad) or a Rohit Sharma (Mumbai), but the Proteas' skipper reckons offence will be the best way to counter the Indians. "(Their strength) is their ability to score quickly," the South African captain explained, "we have to attack them with the new ball, get them two or three wickets down upfront and build pressure on their middle order." (Read: We will fight fire with fire in South Africa, says MS Dhoni)
South Africa's problems, however, are not with the ball, but with the bat. They have been inconsistent chasers and almost made a hash of a modest 180-run target by losing four wickets for 87 before De Villiers arrested the slide and scripted a facile six-wicket win with an unbeaten 48. De Villiers admitted that even in Saturday's winning effort in Centurion, his side "didn't chase as well as we wanted to", putting forward a lack of "care for our partnerships" as the main reason.
The first ODI against India will be played at Wanderers on December 5 (Wednesday).