The Proteas produced patches of brilliance during some parts of the 100 overs, but failed to build on the performances during crucial moments of the match.
“It was a funny performance,” a disappointed De Villiers said after the match. “The first 50 overs felt really long and I felt we got our rhythm wrong. We started slowly with the ball, were inconsistent, and there were too many extras and dropped catches.
“Unfortunately we have to talk about it because we didn’t win the game but I felt like we were right in it, with 15 overs to go I felt like we were favourites,” he said. “As a cricket team things will go wrong and that’s what happened today. I take a lot of pride in the fact that we win games even when we are not playing at our full potential and it didn’t happen today.”
The Proteas started the season with a determined focus to improve the fielding side of their game, but put down five catches in a lacklustre performance from an athletic and talented fielding unit.
“You can’t say that we are working too hard,” he said of the fielding. “I think we are putting in the right amount of work, we just have to go out there and do it. Our fielding was way below par today; it was disappointing so we will have to fix that on Sunday.”
The short turnaround to the second match on Sunday doesn’t give the players much time to dwell on the defeat, and is an opportunity for a series-levelling bounce-back in conditions they will be more accustomed to.
“It’s not the end of the world but I do feel bitter about it, I don’t enjoy losing games,” De Villiers said. “We want to come back from this, I don’t want us to go back home thinking of what we could have done differently. I want us to fix this now and make it one-all and stay in the series to win it. There is no such thing as being here to learn from our mistakes, we are here to win, I’m expecting a much better performance on Sunday.”