Ricky Ponting said Australia would not be getting too carried away after their emphatic 83-run victory over the world No. 1 South Africa, adding that his team's bid for a third consecutive World Cup was only just building up its momentum.
"It was a big win for us," Ponting, whose team now travels to Antigua for the Super Eights stage of the competition, said. "Taking those two points with us and a pretty healthy run-rate as well - it's an ideal start to the tournament. But that's all it is for us, it's one of the games down and we've got to focus and turn things round pretty quickly for the big game against West Indies on Tuesday."
Tuesday's match will be the inaugural fixture at the new Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua, and Ponting said his side had to be wary when facing West Indies on home soil. "They're a very dangerous team, and they should know these conditions very well," he said. "They have great crowd support from all over the Caribbean, and once again it's one of our biggest games in this World Cup. Every step you take in this tournament becomes more and more exciting.
"Right at the moment things are going really well," Ponting said, as Australia have won three matches out of three in the group stages in St Kitts. "We just wanted to go out there and play a great game today. This win is no more satisfying than any other against South Africa. They're a good side so whenever we beat them it's a good achievement."
Though South Africa eventually slumped to a sizeable defeat, it was not until Australia's bowlers had been given a fright in the opening 25 overs of the run-chase that they began to take control. "To get through that challenge today will be great for us," Ponting, whose bowlers failed to defend consecutive scores of 330-plus against New Zealand last month, said. "The last few times we've been challenged that way, we haven't performed at our best, but today we really kept in there and waited for something special."
That something special came courtesy of a brilliant run-out from the boundary's edge by Shane Watson, and Ponting admitted that the throw had probably changed the course of the game. "The way we executed today after that first breakthrough was terrific," he said. "We just hung in there, our fielding was good, and once we got a bit of a sniff we were all over them and went in for the kill.
"Whenever a side is chasing a total like that, if they have one little slip-up or one brilliant piece of fielding from us, then it puts them on the back-foot pretty quickly and that's what happened today. It's always hard work chasing big totals like that. South Africa have done it reasonably well in the past, but in this big game they weren't able to do it."
Graeme Smith, South Africa's captain, was proud of the effort that his side had put into the chase, but admitted that they had "lost their way" at crucial moments of the match. "We bowled well at times at the death, for little bursts, and even with the bat, going into the 35th over, we were ahead of our targets," he said. "But we just left ourselves too much to do in the last ten. We had opportunities to win and we move on with confidence to our next game against Sri Lanka."