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August 28, 2012
AB de Villiers insisted that bigger challenges lie ahead after South Africa became the first side to be rated No.1 in all three formats of international cricket.
South Africa's 80-run victory in Southampton saw them replace England at the top of the ODI rankings, with England slipping to third place behind India. South Africa were already rated the No.1 Test and T20 side, having usurped England as the top ranked Test team little more than a week ago following the 2-0 series victory sealed at Lord's.
De Villiers, South Africa's limited-overs captain, said the team were proud of the achievement but suggested that they will be judged by more tangible success. Their main aims, he said, were the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2013 Champions Trophy in England.
"The No.1 thing is a bit of a bonus," de Villiers said. "We're happy about it, but it's not a main goal or a main concern at the moment.
"I'm obviously very proud of it. It's a great achievement. Becoming No.1 was probably one of the goals of our Test team, as we have had a very settled team for the last few years. But the ODI and T20 sides contain a lot of new faces and a new captain. There are a lot of things still to achieve. We certainly weren't working towards getting No.1 in ODIs in this series.
"We want to play good ODI cricket, get a settled team and that's what we're working towards. It's not something that is one of our main goals. We're looking way ahead in the future: we have a World Cup in 2015 and the Champions Trophy in 2013 coming up."
De Villiers also provided a frank assessment of a well under par England's performance. "I won't say they're rattled but they didn't play their best cricket," he said. "We expect a much better England side in the next ODI. One thing is for sure: they didn't play at 100% today."
Key to South Africa's success was Hashim Amla's highest ODI score of 150. During the innings, Amla became the fastest man in the history of ODI cricket to reach 3,000 runs and will extend his lead at the top of the ICC ODI batting rankings.
"It definitely felt like one of my better ODI innings," he said. "What makes it special to me is that it was a difficult wicket and we won the game. "It's a lot more challenging with two new white balls up-front and there was a period in the middle of the innings when the spinners were on, there was some turn and I had to tread carefully and build a partnership. It was definitely one of the innings I've most enjoyed."
With the first game of the five-match series, in Cardiff, abandoned due to rain, South Africa are now 1-0 up with three games to play. The next game will take place at The Oval on Friday.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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