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Confident South Africa fix eyes on Champions Trophy

AB de Villiers on the New Zealand series: 'It's definitely a build-up towards the Champions Trophy, it's a big goal of ours to go there and win that tournament' Getty Images

AB de Villiers, South Africa's one-day captain, believes there has never been as much belief in the squad as they currently have in the midst of an 11-match ODI winning streak.

A win in Hamilton on Sunday will equal South Africa's best run in ODI cricket - matching the 12 wins in a row they achieved in 2005 - and eyes are already firmly fixed on the Champions Trophy in June. Global tournaments come with a huge weight of history for South Africa, most of it bad, but de Villiers' faith in his squad is absolute.

"The belief in the squad is as high as I've ever experienced it," he said. "There's a great respect among the players and a sense of direction. It's as simple as that. We know it can change in a matter of minutes, so there's a deep respect for the game and the fact you can go into a dip at any time, but I really believe what we have in this team will carry us through good and bad times.

"It's definitely a build-up towards the Champions Trophy, it's a big goal of ours to go there and win that tournament, we know there's a long way to go but this is a great stepping stone," he added. "The conditions are pretty similar - the ball moves around a bit when it's new and you have to extend your partnerships when you get in, so it's quite similar to the UK."

South Africa had warned themselves to be on their guard against a slow start to their tour and de Villiers was delighted with the intensity they showed in the T20 at Eden Park. He admitted a one-off match was tough to get motivated for, but that made the convincing nature of the 78-run victory even more pleasing ahead of the main portions of the tour.

"It's difficult to get yourself up for a one-game series. We chatted about that and saw it as a red flag - even though it's not that significant, you are still representing your country," he said. "You are away from home and you want to start a tour off on the right note. We are hoping that momentum will take us into the ODI series. I thought we played an outstanding game of cricket. It was vital for us to start well, it doesn't guarantee us any success in the ODIs but it was a good start."

A couple of hours after completing their victory, at close to midnight, with only the cleaners, security and night owls of the media left at the ground, the full South African squad strode out to the middle of the Eden Park pitch and produced a loud rendition of their team song. De Villiers admitted it felt "a bit weird" after a one-off match but said it was important to maintain traditions.

"We were hoping no one would be there," he said with a hint of a smile. "We normally go out quite late, but it's just a tradition after every series win. You have to appreciate the good times."

He insisted, though, that there was no extra feeling because of what had happened the last time South Africa played at Eden Park in the World Cup semi-final.

"It will never disappear that we lost the semi-final, but all you can focus on is the now. That game has been played about a 1000 times on TV over the last few days, so I've been reliving those emotions quite a bit, but it's all good memories really. We've got through all the pain and heartache. When I've watched the game over the last few days I just saw good things."

And with that, the next global tournament draws ever nearer.