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Looking forward to Pakistan challenge: AB de Villiers

Dale Steyn's injury "not looking good", says South Africa captain.

Looking forward to Pakistan challenge: AB de Villiers - Cricket News
South Africa cricket captain AB de Villiers talks to the media.
What could be the basic difference that you'll be looking against Pakistan and India?  Basically, what would be the approach? 
Well, they're totally different teams. I think Pakistan obviously has got a world class spinner in Ajmal, and they're a very good team as well, just very different to India.  India has a very, very strong batting lineup right throughout the order. They're strong with the batting end, where Pakistan has probably got a stronger bowling attacking end.  We played them in the recent past in South Africa, and in the warm up game here in England.  We know them very well, and we're looking forward to the challenge tomorrow. 
Is there any news on Dale Steyn? 
Yeah, the final decision hasn't been made yet, but it's not looking good; chances are that he'll only be ready for the last one.  We're still hanging on to that last little bit of hope that he could wake up tomorrow morning and do a bit of a fitness test and look good for the game, but it's not looking good at all. 
Now that you've got time to reflect on your opening match, what sort of conclusions have you drawn, and what do you make of Pakistan's performance against West Indies? 
Yeah, we take a lot of positives out of the first game.  Obviously, a lot was said in previous interviews that I was quite disappointed and hurting a bit.  That's gone now, and we've taken our learning from that game.  We had a nice team meeting about what went right and wrong in that game, and the Pakistan game against the West Indies was a low scoring game, so not a lot of learning we took out of that except for two good bowling attacks and operating and looking in good form. 
We were well aware of the Pakistani bowling attack.  They're a very good bowling attack, and we'd like to have obviously wickets in hand towards the last 15 overs.  So once again that's a bit complicated that I'm mentioning now, so we'll just come here tomorrowand assess conditions.  That is the most important thing.  If it's a flat wicket and it's really good there's no need to try and think of the last 10, 15 overs then you have to accelerate right throughout the innings. 
So we'll assess conditions tomorrow, and we're up against a very good team that can beat any team in this tournament.  We're playing some good cricket and we're confident we can beat them tomorrow.
With Dale and obviously Morne out, do you think it's possibly a different change of strategy where obviously the pace was the way to go possibly with two spinners tomorrow?
I don't know.  Yesterday watching the game between Australia and England which looks like a similar wicket that we're playing on tomorrow, the one spinner from England, Tredwell, bowled really well.  But I thought it was the seamers that really started reversing the ball there towards the end, there was a bit of swing and really restricted the batters and made them look like they can't get it off the square. 

So it's a tough one.  We'll still decide tonight.  It's not a bad option.  But looking at the spinners, they're very similar kind of bowlers, but left on over doesn't give us a lot of options and variations.  We've got either J.P. and one of either Phangiso or Robin Peterson will be good enough variation for tomorrow. 
It's like a knockout situation now, virtually a knockout situation.  Does it sometime help in a situation like this to play aggressively and come out attacking? 
Yeah, we're not going to change too much.  We've tried that before and I very well remember the 2007 World Cup where we've had Australia in the semifinals and tried to change strategy and tried to take it to them and the next minute we were 20 for 5. That doesn't always help.  We're going to stick to what we do best.  We know our strengths really well.  We also know we're lacking a bit and we'll try to minimize that. 
We're going to stick to our game plan.  We believe if we played to our full potential, which we didn't in the previous game, we can beat any team.
Accepting that there were positives that came out of the India game, and some uncomfortable games like three run outs, was there anything specifically that you saw that you had to fix in time for this game is this?
There are quite a few areas obviously we were lacking there.  I think with the ball in hand the start wasn't too special.  We were maybe lacking a bit of intensity with the ball in hand.  The fielders had a lot of intensity out there.  And almost like their confidence wasn't really there in the first 10 overs, which we've spoken about and trying to do better tomorrow. 
We fought that really well with the ball in hand there, and at the end it was really exciting to see us restricting them to what we did.  With the bat in hand, it was a great start, and just those couple of run outs which we've spoken about and it cost us dearly.  Other than that, I thought the players played to their game plans.  Nobody tried anything stupid or silly.  We played our games and the guys got out.  That's going to happen.  But the two run outs were unforced and we've spoken about that. 
Yesterday Gary explained that the choice between the opening batsmen was Colin and Alviro Petersen, and you guys went with Colin.  Given Pakistan's bowling attack and the experience in English conditions, do you think that will maybe warrant a change and you may look for the experience in Alviro? 
We could.  The only problem is we're missing Morne and Dale.  So you'll have to go for a lot of inexperience if you do punch your batting lineup a bit longer.  But it's definitely an option.  Thinking of the Pakistani bowling attack, you make a very good point. 
It's once again something we'll have to discuss tonight, and I can honestly tell you we haven't made that decision yet.  It's still, all 15 believe they still have a chance to play tomorrow.  We're busy talking to each guy, and tonight we'll make the final decision on that. 
Chris Morris, is he fit going into the side and how is he feeling?  Secondly, you played Pakistan quite often, is it a team that is attacking?
Yeah, Chris is doing well.  He looks really fresh.  He has impressed us all at the IPL.  In the last year he's been amazing.  He's a guy full of confidence and a guy that we really enjoy having around.  You know, we were unlucky to have Morne and Dale injured, but to have a guy like Chris replace them is really pleasing to me. 
Playing Pakistan again in a knockout game is something that we got used to over the last few years, but it's a great challenge and something we look really forward to.  We know they play great cricket in knockout games as well.  So we know we'll have to be at the top of our game.  We never thought it would be anywhere different in this tournament.  We knew we'll have to be at the top of our game to win this tournament, and I'm confident we will be tomorrow. 
Obviously, Nelson Mandela is in serious condition in the hospital.  I'd just like to get your thoughts on what his legacy means for you, this team, and this tournament and South African sport as a whole? 

Yeah, he's a legend in our country.  He obviously turned things around for our better formation.  I just hope he gets better soon.  We all know he's quite old.  I think he's 95 right now, and I've still got a few years to get there, but I can only imagine it's not too easy moving around at that age. 
But I wish him well and hope he recovers really soon, and he can maybe still make a difference in our country in the next few years to come, and maybe even get the big 100 when it comes to birthdays.  So we're hoping him to get better soon. 
England and Australia, you know plenty about them from recent years, so how do you see the Ashes going at this point?  Do you have a way that you're leaning in your thoughts? 
It's something I haven't thought of at all.  But I know the Aussies are up for something big, especially losing yesterday.  They're obviously out of sorts and haven't played good cricket of late.  So the easy pick would be to go for England, but I would never push the Aussies out of the equation.  They're obviously a fighting team, and will be somewhat close to competing in the Ashes.  I don't know what's going to happen, but the favorite is obviously England, that's easy to see. 

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