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Champions Trophy: Proteas confident despite England loss, says de Villiers

Johannesburg [South Africa]: Despite losing the recent ODI series against England, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers has said that he is satisfied with his team’s preparation for the Champions Trophy, where they will begin their campaign against Sri Lanka on June 3 at the Oval.

The de Villiers-led side slumped to a 1-2 defeat to England in the three-match ODI series after two closes match went the hosts’ way while they were humbled in the final game.

In the third ODI, South Africa’s bowlers, especially Kagiso Rabada, wreaked havoc on England as Eoin Morgan’s side were reduced to 20 for 6 after just five overs before being bowled out for 153. The Proteas eventually went on to win the final match by seven wickets.

And de Villiers insisted that there were many encouraging signs throughout the series and that they would like to focus on the same going into the eight-team marquee event.

“I was pretty happy with our preparations for the Champions Trophy, although obviously you don’t want to lose a series that you play in. But I know that we finished on a high, and there were encouraging signs throughout the series and those are the kind of things we like to focus on,” Sport24 quoted de Villiers as saying.

The South African skipper said that although his side are brimming with confidence knowing that they are the No.1 ranked team, they need to work harder and take it one game at a time to clinch the title.

“We’re still ranked the No 1 team in the world going into the tournament, so there are quite a few reasons for us to be confident, but we’re still humbled at the same time and know that we have to work hard and take it one step at a time to win this,” he added.

De Villiers further said that he is expecting a competitive tournament where even the top sides would not be able to take things easy in any matches.

“When the world’s top eight teams are competing for one trophy, it’s going to be very competitive. I’m sure there will be some close games, and I guess whichever team takes their opportunities the most will come out on top,” he added.(ANI)