Former South African captain AB de Villers was interviewed by Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz. De Villiers, who last represented South Africa in April 2018 before calling it quits on international cricket, recalls the semi-final match against New Zealand at Auckland in 2015. South Africa needed to defend only twelve from the final over which came down to five from two balls. Grant Elliot smashed Dale Steyn for a six to seal New Zealand’s first world cup final appearance.
AB De Villiers, who was the captain of the side, said that the semi-final hit him hard and he was left feeling worn out for at least a year following the loss. South Africa before the 2015 World Cup had never won a knock-out match. In the tournament, they finally did as they defeated Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals to progress to semi-finals. Their best result in the major tournament is being the semi-finalists.
For the next 12 months after that semi-final against the eventual runner-ups, de Villiers said that it was tough for him. “Maybe I should’ve been more honest about it when I look back and communicated about it. I felt like I was a little bit alone at the time but it’s silly to say that you’re alone if you don’t seek help if you don’t talk about it.” He said.
“So If I could have it over again, I would probably open up discussions with the coach, administrators and discuss my way forward. I should’ve shared my emotions with them and things that bothered me. I didn’t.” He added.
As mentioned before, South Africa have never won an ICC world cup, and when asked whether he felt disappointed finishing his career without winning one.
“It’s certainly something that I’d have liked to achieve throughout my career. We got close and I am specifically very proud of the way we played in 2015 and certainly rocking up on that evening in Eden Park, playing some of the best cricket of the tournament, and we were so close. I am proud of our performances looking back.”
It was a thrilling game, no doubt. The quarter-finals in the 2015 edition failed to provide any close games. However, the semi-final between the two sides who are yet to win the World Cup didn’t disappoint. Dale Steyn, who bowled the final over in the match, was lying down on the ground after he was dispatched for six that sealed New Zealand’s maiden final. Grant Elliot offered a consoling hand to the South African speedster. There were emotions full-on display, as South Africa were down on their knees. Some didn’t even move from their fielding positions for a while.
“We got beaten by sport on the night and it was a beautiful thing but it was difficult for me to get through that year and to specifically meet up with the team again a few months later, having to go again. Here we go again, we have to restart but I am like hold on, I am not over this World Cup. It hurt too much.”
“So yes, I am sensitive and those kinds of things play a huge role in how I feel and my ambitions and all of that stuff,” he added.