Pakistan v South Africa, 5th ODI, Dubai November 9, 2010

Smith, Kallis keen to build on victory

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has praised his side's clinical show in the fifth ODI against Pakistan, which gave them the series 3-2. Pakistan had managed to draw level twice in the closely-fought series, with one-wicket victories in the second and fourth matches, but South Africa lifted their performance for a convincing 57-run win in the decider.

"I think that was our best performance. Being the crunch game, I was proud of the way we played, we looked relaxed, positive and posted a good total," Smith said after the match. "I think initially, the first 10 to 15 overs, the way Hashim [Amla] played and everyone played with confidence and freedom. They really set up a good innings and then JP Duminy and Johan Botha finished that partnership and helped us get 317, that was great to see. I have to give it to the bowlers, they were the ones who had question marks on their heads and they stood up and performed well."

Smith was full of appreciation for Jacques Kallis, who top-scored with 83 to lead South Africa to 317 before derailing Pakistan's chase with a three-wicket burst in the middle overs. "I've run out of things to say about Jacques and he completed 11,000 runs today. He is an asset for South African cricket and when he does walk away from the game it's going to be a big loss to us. But now that we have got him, we want to make the most of him, bowling 10 overs and making hundreds every game. His experience is great and it's great to see him come back from injury and do well."

The series was a crucial part of South Africa's build-up to next year's World Cup in the subcontinent, but Smith was guarded against reading too much into the victory. "We are not predicting anything on the World Cup, there is a lot of cricket still to be played. For me ... I think we have taken some big steps forward.

"We could have won the series 4-0 or 5-0 and those are the things we learn from and become more clinical but there are lots of positives as all 15 have contributed. Obviously we would like to build on those in the India series."

Kallis, adjudged the Man of the Match, was happy with his performance in the crunch game, having come into the series following a fitness break and suffered from a bout of dehydration in the first ODI, which forced him out of the next match. "I am trying to put as much hard work as I can and trying to be in the best condition physically and mentally going into the World Cup, who knows it might be my last one. I want to give it my all, as long as I keep contributing and keep helping the youngsters along the way. To put great performances on an important day like this gives me great pleasure."

During his innings, Kallis became only the sixth player to pass the 11,000-run mark in ODIs, a feat he was not aware of at the time. "I didn't actually know until I got out and the guys congratulated me on 11,000. It's been a great honour. I have certainly enjoyed the years and hopefully there are many more to come."

South Africa have traditionally under-performed at the World Cup, and have not made a single final despite usually being one of the front-runners. Kallis believed the disappointments were because of the side's approach to pressure games. "The message that I can give to the guys is to really enjoy the World Cup. Perhaps, in the past, we haven't quite enjoyed it as much as we have normal games. It's probably the most important thing, putting the hard work down and getting ready for it, but we can't make a too big a deal of it. Just got to go there and play the kind of cricket we have been playing for the last few months and we will be alright."

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  • TheHindu on November 9, 2010, 11:38 GMT

    Including Peterson in playing XI was a good decision. Botha and Peterson complete the balance of the side. In WC, they should stick to the same lineup considering the fact that the sub-continent patches help spinners.

  • SurlyCynic on November 9, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    boris - You're right about World Cups, but not Champions Trophy tournaments as SA won one in 1998.

  • shovwar on November 9, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    This was a good series for the SA team with young stars...I hope their experimenting is over and now they should play the best 11....My best XI: 1) Smith 2) Amla 3) Kallis 4) Devilliers 5) Duminy 6) Miller 7) Botha 8) Peterson 9) Morne 10) Steyn 11) Theron. I am having 2 spinners because the WC is in the subcontinent and Botha and Peterson are allrounders...I chose Theron over Tsotsobe because Theron is a better death over bowler n SA needs Theron more at the moment. And Steyn and Morne are better than Tsotsobe...But he could be a good back up for Peterson if the double spin backfires. Colin Ingram could be a good replacement for any position if needed. And I would also keep Albie, Parnell and ofcourse Mark Boucher around in the dressing room....Good Luck SA! This WC is yours....Remember!!! The only ICC tournament SA won back in 1998 was in the inaugural champions trophy in Dhaka...which is in the Sub-Continent....That means its not true that they cant.................................

  • diri on November 9, 2010, 9:25 GMT

    King kallis....a giant of the game....we were privleged to have watched him play and entertain us.....He is with out doubt irraplaceable, Hashim Amla is fast racing up the ranks to...could he become the greatest ODI batsmen??? Lots of good things about this SA team. I predict big things from them in years to come

  • sameer-hussain on November 9, 2010, 7:20 GMT

    yesterday kallis shown his class that which class allrounder he is !first he played a magnificent inning and than broke the partership and picked 3wicket of top order as well.i dont know why people underrated him as he performed the dual duty. may he perform like that and give me alot of happiness and enjoy it

  • Pablo123 on November 9, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    Great man Kallis - I wish you could be around another 10 years !!!! It is always a pleasure to watch you in a match, no matter what you are doing. Long live King Kallis !!!

  • boris6491 on November 9, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    They are a good team, full with talent, ability and experience with the capabilities and potential to win the WC. The problem though is that before the '99, '03 and '07 world cups, they had equally strong sides and choked. They wouldn't be on my potential list for WC winners because of this. Each time we have presumed that things will change but when it comes to ICC events, SA are just never up to it. We can all say that 'this time it will be different'. But as I said, that same statement has been uttered before all three world cups, the world T20s and the Champions Trophy tournaments where SA have never lived up to expectations.

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