On the eve of Pak-RSA match, Dale Steyn compared AB de Villiers to the character with various superhuman powers as in the The Matrix trilogy. “Oh, man, it’s like watching The Matrix movie, really,” he said. “. Like he just doesn’t understand how good he is. There is no roof or cap on how good he can possibly be. He’s limitless in what he can do.”
Limitless with the bat, it would seem during the last year, but as a leader of this South African team de Villiers is limited. As is his team, like on evenings such as this when they collapse in what should be a straightforward chase. And when the others don’t stand up, even de Villiers – superhuman, freakish, Neo-like de Villiers – is not guaranteed of lifting South Africa.
After the loss, which leaves South Africa needing to beat UAE in their last league match of the Word Cup, the skipper looked a defeated man.
“I hate losing. I really do,” said de Villiers, his eyes flushed but his cheeks reddening as he controlled burning emotions. “So I have nothing good to say about the team at the moment. I’m very disappointed. Even though I scored some runs, I’m disappointed in my own performance. I should have finished it off. I’ve done it before so many times. Just couldn’t cross the line tonight. Hopefully, we’ve got four games left in this World Cup, and still an opportunity to lift the trophy. We’ve got opportunity, like I said before, to fix things against UAE, to play a really good game of cricket and go into the quarterfinals with a good fresh mindset, and mindset of believing we’re the best team here. I still believe that, I’ve just got nothing good to say about our performance today.”
South Africa are hurting today, and should be until they meet UAE in Wellington on March 12. De Villiers denied that too much was being asked of him as fielder, batsman and captain. “I know I can’t win this World Cup alone. There is no way.” There are limits to his batting in ODIs, we were reminded today. But more than de Villiers the batsman, South Africa need de Villiers the leader, the inspiration, the motivator to drag them forward in a World Cup they were tipped to conquer.