“Faf did not get enough credit for his knock. He came in at a very difficult situation, in the middle of the innings, when Indian spinners started dominating a bit. He controlled the innings exceptionally very well. It allowed (third centurion in innings) Quinton (de Kock) and me to, sort of, free up,” said de Villiers in the post-match conference at the Wankhede Stadium here last night.

You could see both of us scored at faster than run-a-ball hundred and that was because of Faf’s stability at the other end. He was getting really tired throughout his innings and to show that kind of determination to anchor the innings, which is not easy, was incredible and makes it probably the most important of the three (centuries),” said the visiting team captain after his team thrashed India by 214 runs to sew up the best-of-five series 3-2.

South Africa piggy-backed on the trio of tons to aggregate a sky-high score of 438 for four and then bundled out the hosts for a paltry 224 in 36 overs to create history by winning their first-ever bilateral ODI series in the country. In the context of what was achieved, de Villiers rated the game as his best as captain. It was obviously a huge game, final and history on line. With that regard it’s definitely the biggest game and the best game I have captained. It was a complete performance with the bat and ball and I am very proud of the boys,” he said.

Apart from the batting might, the visitors’ fast bowling duo – spearhead Dale Steyn and rising pacer Kagiso Rabada – cut a scythe through the Indian batting to pick up 3 for 38 and 4 for 41 respectively. Third pace bowler Kyle Abbott (1 for 39) and leg-spinner Imran Tahir (2 for 50) were the other successful bowlers for South Africa, who had earlier won the best-of-three T20 rubber too. De Villiers also said that his team has once again showed they had the best batting line up towards the end of an ODI innings and said their focus on their own game rather than the opposition has paid them rich dividends.

“We got our game plans for each individual. I would not say there are areas we are trying to exploit against India. We are focusing on our team. With the bat over the last 20-30 overs, we are definitely the best line-up in the world, there’s no doubt. We have proved it over quite a few years now. “With the ball in hand, it’s the aggression with the seamers. We controlled the pace of the innings really well and those are the things we focused on rather than where we can expose India. I think we have kept it pretty simple, really focused on our strengths rather than the opposition which has really helped us.”

The touring ODI captain also praised all his seam bowlers when asked about the extra aggression brought in by Steyn towards the latter part of the Indian innings. “All the seamers had a fantastic series. Dale has always been like that. When he senses a weakness and sees an opportunity to pick up wickets, he comes up with double aggression. He was really fired up when I brought him on again. I thought all the seamers had great control in the first ten which was very important. I knew India would try for a flyer, and to restrict them to 5 and 5 and a half runs an over was unbelievable. They were hoping to get 80 to 100 in the first ten. The bowlers set the trend by clever mixture of pace and aggression.”

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