South African skipper AB de Villiers is bitter – and it’s not the glut of dropped catches that have ticked him off.
The Proteas were left cursing their poor form after they dropped catch after catch during their 32-run one-day loss on Friday to Australia.
Australian vice-captain George Bailey was dropped a whopping four times – including twice when he was on two – before making a match-winning knock of 70.
De Villiers was a tad upset to see the catches go down, but he was more annoyed at the golden chances his players didn’t even get a hand on.
“I personally have no problems with a dropped catch – it happens. I’ve dropped catches before,” de Villiers said.
“I’m more disappointed about the catches we pulled out of; the catches I want us to get a hand on. That’s when I get frustrated.
“It’s not the end of the world. But I do feel really bitter, though, because I really don’t enjoy losing games.”
De Villiers felt he might have put his players under too much pressure recently over their usually elite fielding standards.
“Maybe I made a mistake mentioning it in the media before – put too much emphasis on it,” de Villiers said.
“I think I put a bit of pressure on the guys. So I’ll try to pipe down a bit with that.
“We are putting in the right amount of work. Our fielding was way below par, so we’ll have to fix that on Sunday.”
Australia are 1-0 up in the five-match series after bowling South Africa out for 268 in reply to their 8-300.
Game two will be in Perth on Sunday, with the Proteas desperate to bounce back.
Although South Africa are using the series as key preparation for next year’s World Cup, de Villiers said his team didn’t come here to merely go through the motions.
“We are here to win the series, and I’m expecting a much better performance on Sunday,” he said.
“We would like to come back from this now.
“I don’t want us to go back home thinking, ‘What could we have done differently?’. I want us to fix it right now, and still win this series.”
With De Villiers’ knock of 80 on Friday night, he became the fastest batsman to make 7000 ODI runs.
The 30-year-old took just 166 innings to reach the feat, beating the previous record of 174 set by Sourav Ganguly.