Rassie van der Dussen has rated South Africa as being at ‘70 percent with bat and ball’ in their opening match against England and believes there is enough time for them to improve in the competition.
The Proteas lost by 104 runs to ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 hosts England at The Oval, where Ben Stokes impressed with a fine all-round performance.
Despite that loss, Van der Dussen is confident South Africa can improve over the course of the tournament.
“It’s the first game, it’s a stepping stone for us. At the end of the day, you want to peak at the right time and that’s at the back end,” Van der Dussen said. “We were probably at 70 percent so that’s not where we want to be. But it’s the start of a long competition where you want to have an upwards curve in terms of your performance.”
Van der Dussen himself had an impressive first World Cup outing and scored 50 off 61 balls to keep South Africa in the hunt, chasing 312. Though they lost seven wickets for 65 runs and were defeated by 104 runs, Van der Dussen does not think the difference between South Africa and England is as large as the margin reflects.
“It looks a lot worse than it is,” he said. “When myself and Quinny (Quinton de Kock) were in there, if we could have stayed there together for five or 10 more overs, it would have really put pressure on them. We could have come really close. We just lost too many wickets along the way.”
Van der Dussen put the dismissals down to a lack of execution and not the sense of occasion that came with playing the host nation in front of a full house.
He added: “There were a few nerves but you are nervous when you are not in the situation. As you are looking in from outside, that’s when the nerves come in. Everyone, as soon as they got the ball or bat in hand, they just come out and do the job.”
In fact, he enjoyed the crowd involvement, whether or not it was in South Africa’s favour.
“There are a lot of South Africans in London so we are grateful to them for coming out. The English crowd is a hostile crowd but a respectable crowd. They give credit where credit is due and that’s something nice,” Van der Dussen said.
South Africa will be back at The Oval on Sunday, when they play Bangladesh and only have two days to tune up. Van der Dussen said it will only require minor tweaks to get them match ready.
He added: “Everybody’s games are in a good space at the moment. We worked really hard over the last few weeks and everybody knows where they are. It will be a situation of just topping up on some of the batting and bowling skills, no drastic changes. We know if we are at our best or close to it, we can beat any side.”