Defying the odds, South Africa may have clinched the Twenty20 series quite comprehensively, but their star batsman J P Duminy does not want complacency to set in the side. He feels the Indians will fight back strongly in the upcoming ODIs, and make sure that his side does not have it easy. South Africa defeated India in Dharamsala, and Cuttack, to clinch the Twenty20 series 2-0 after the third and final Twenty20 match at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, was abandoned owing to a wet outfield.
“As a team, we definitely expect them to put in a big performance in the two series. We are under no illusion that it is going to be a walkover in the ODI series. We know that we have to fight hard and play well and take it one game at a time,” Duminy, who was adjudged man of the series, told a news conference after the washout. The ODI leg is beginning with Kanpur in two days time, and Duminy said his side would once again look to make a strong start.
“Our focus is on Kanpur and hopefully we can start off well in that series as well. That is going to give us a lot of confidence. We know that they are a great ODI team so it is important for us to start off well in the ODI series,” Duminy said.
India had set up a mammoth 200 target in Dharamsala riding on Rohit Sharma’s maiden century, but his effort was overshadowed by the Duminy’s unbeaten 68, that fashioned a thrilling seven-wicket win for the visitors. “I would definitely put it down as one of my better innings, especially in International cricket in the shorter format. But I still believe that there is a lot more to come from myself and I can still contribute a lot more; not only with the bat but also with the ball. I guess the key for me is to stay hungry to perform,” the South African all-rounder said.
Terming the Dharamsala win as a turning point, Duminy said, “It was a big one for us especially chasing 200 gave us a lot of confidence going into the second T20I. That is going to be a big tick for us in the T20 format. With the results that we have got here now, they will give us a lot of confidence going into the T20 series against England and Australia and obviously the World cup coming in a few months.”
“We spoke long and hard coming here… It can get quite painful if you start off in the wrong fashion. We are happy the way we have started but we also know that there is a lot of hard work ahead of us,” Duminy said.
South African pace department, with the comeback of fit-again Albie Morkel, has been a big positive for the visitors. “We knew going into the second game that we needed to improve as a bowling unit. That was a big plus for us; the way we bowled, the discipline we showed within our bowling department,” Duminy said.
South Africa had a month’s break after beating World Cup runners-up New Zealand, 2-1, in the ODI series, and drawing 1-1 in T20Is in a home series. Duminy said it was great to get back and press the refresh button.
“Coming here most of the guys were pretty fresh and excited to be playing cricket again. Leading up to that week before that first game, we knew that it was important the way we started. If we can compete for the majority of the game, we give ourselves a good chance of coming out on top.” Asked what makes the Proteas good travellers, Duminy said it’s about enjoying each others’ company and success.
“It doesn’t matter which part of the world we are in. No matter what challenges we face, we face it head on. There are not too many arguments going on in the team room. We find ways of enjoying ourselves in a long tour. That is important for us especially when you are coming to a place where there is not a lot to do outside the hotel and you are coming to a place for such a long period of time.”
“It can get you down at times; so it is important that we gel as a unit and gel as a team. We have got a great camaraderie within the team and everybody plays for one another. Everybody wants each other to do well and we enjoy each others’ success. That is an important component for a successful team,” Duminy said.