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CWC 2023 | Proteas vs New Zealand | Rassie van der Dussen post-match press conference

Rassie-van-der-Dussen-01-11-23

[Reporter:]

Rassi, well played, but given that you've already told us anything, I want to ask about Quinny [Quinton de Kock] actually. I'm just kidding. You guys talk about your collective effort, whether it be spreading the runs or spreading the wickets and stuff. But just how inspirational and important is it still to have a guy who's basically racking off centuries like he's been doing and record-breaking in some instances? And are you nudging him to stay a bit longer in the 50-over format?

Rassie van der Dussen

It's been so good to have Quinny. He has a determination about him that I haven't seen in a very long time. He's ploughing back into the team in all aspects, in the bowling meetings, in the batting meetings, being one of our senior guys. The guys really feed off him. He's one of my favourite guys to bat with. He really guided me through my innings today. At times I was under pressure and I was asking him about a few options and just to sort of soundboard with him out in the middle. He's such a cool and calm guy out there, thinks so clearly. It was just great to bat with him. But he's been brilliant in the last few weeks.

Like I said, very determined. He's not all talky - he does it out on the field. And I think that's really inspirational for us as a team and the rest of the guys on the team to see a guy like that really come up with a good.

[Reporter:]

Very surprised, you were allowed to bat first despite losing the toss. And how is it feeling to be among the runs?

Rassie van der Dussen

Yeah, I mean I keep telling the guys I love when we lose the toss because like I feel like when you win the toss and bowl first, you're looking to strike up front and put the batting team under pressure. We would have batted first as well today because last night we were training and it was swinging around a bit. We knew that the dew might come in later, but I think that's a brilliant thing about bowling attack. They struck early and we never even got to a place where the dew played a massive role.

So, yeah, very happy to bat first again today and we keep refining the way we want to play. And we were really good at times today, but also, yeah, I just was speaking to Klaasen just now in the change room and we probably left a few runs out there still.

So, there's definite places to improve. So, we'll look at that tomorrow.

Obviously happy to contribute on the team. It was a full-out team performance. That's really heartening in the changing room at the moment. Everyone's contributing. Even the guys on the bench. We have Shamo sitting out after being man of the match the other day and the guys on the bench, the energy they're putting into the team has just been unbelievable. So, all 15, the staff's contributing, our medical team to get the guys back and ready and reset for every match. Yeah, it’s just been a collective effort and it's good to see the results of that in a match like tonight.

[Reporter:]

You spoke about it in the pre-match, about doing the, as you call it, the dirty work in the middle overs. First of all, what does that dirty work in the practice and on the pitch look like to you? And when batting first, there have been scores 300 plus every time. What is the method to that madness that South Africa has managed to achieve while batting first?

Rassie van der Dussen

I think, I feel like all the teams, these days, if you don't take wickets, guys will score big against you. And for us as a top order, it's finding that balance between being attacking and scoring runs and also setting the base up for the middle order to come in.

At a stage, Quinnie and I were talking about 300 - 320 maybe, if it all goes to plan. But we've seen so many times what our middle order can do when they get a platform. And luckily today, again, we could give it to them. And they got us to about 360, which was a really good score. We knew it was a good score, but we also knew that it's a decent batting wicket and the bowlers still had to play their part and they did that from the start.

[Reporter:]

Can you talk a little bit about how you paced the innings and then you said like Quinny helped you with a little bit of shot selection, what kinds of things were you looking to do?

Rassie van der Dussen

Yeah, we felt they were bowling pretty well up front. They didn't give us much. And that's the nature of their team. Obviously, Southee  and Bolt, very experienced, very skilled bowlers. And same for Matt Henry, to be honest. And with their finger spinners, Santner is a guy who probably has some of the best control in the world when he bowls. The other two, we knew we could put under pressure, but they've been bowling well in the tournament so far.

So, they weren't giving us much and we sort of had to fight through that period. And yeah, I kept asking Quinny - if you want me to make a play, just tell me. And he said, no, no, just extend it and just look at your options for the spin, keep playing straight, keep being really relentless if it's in your area but if it's not, respect it because we know how these guys bowl and they're very disciplined with the ball.

So, yeah, it's tough to think of an example now, but I think Mitch Santner was really tough to play today. At the end of the day, he went for 58 in his 10. So that shows us we don't always have to be in fifth gear. We can play in third gear to start with and maybe at the end up it a little bit. 10 overs for 58, we were really happy with him because we felt he bowled really well. It was really tough to score for him, especially.

[Reporter:]

I can think of a few World Cups in the past where you guys going into a game against a side like India and the way they're playing and everything else would have been quite daunting for South Africans but now you get the feeling that South Africans actually looking forward to that. I'm sure you guys are as well. But you know, do you think that's is it safe for South Africans to look forward to that game?

Rassie van der Dussen

Definitely. I think what we've done really well is in this campaign is we're really just focusing on what we want to do and how we want to play it. In our match review meetings, we keep looking at the numbers with the coaches and so far in this tournament, by most metrics, we're stacking up pretty well. So, at the end of the day, it's almost irrelevant who's in front of you. We know if we play the way we want to play and execute how we want to and take the correct options, especially under pressure, then the result is a byproduct of that.

So obviously, playing India in India is a massive event. They've been playing really well. A lot of experience in their team. They've got all bases covered, brilliant bowling attack and obviously the batting as well. But again, like I said, we'll go into that game knowing that if we do the things well that we want to do, we'll be in a really strong position.

The challenge is to under pressure, to stay with that, and that's what we'll look to do. But we've played them here before and we've beaten them here before. So, in a sense, it's, even though it's a World Cup, it's not really too much different. We won't be looking at that too much. Yeah, if that answers your question.

[Reporter:]

[Afrikaans]

It was difficult. It seems like it's a theme in a lot of your games. That you don't start so freely and then build up later. And then you know where to get to. Is that a conscious thing of yours? Or don't you always feel comfortable when you're at the beginning of your game? Or is it a mental thing that you still have to get used to?

Rassie van der Dussen

So, it's largely dependent on conditions. I think, like I mentioned earlier, as a top order, finding that balance between the risk you want to take and the rate you want to go at and also limiting risk. For me today, the conditions weren't as free-flowing like we've had. In Mumbai, for example, the conditions were really good. So once Reeza and I in that England game got going, it's a fast outfield. It was a really good wicket to bet on, then you can really play good cricket shots and you sort of stay with a runnable strike rate fairly easily.

Today, I felt it was a bit the other way around. You had to really get used to the conditions and the pitch. And I think Quinny at a stage also was going slower than he normally goes, definitely as well. And I suppose that shows you, that tells a story in itself.

So, the important thing for us was to assess that and know that when you get a start to capitalise, to really make them come into your area and keep the pressure on them. Because like I mentioned earlier, if you don't take wickets in this format and guys have a platform to play off, the sky's the limit.

[Reporter:]

You spoke a bit about the communication between you and Quinny and how he guided you. Over the course of a long partnership like that, are there opportunities for you guys to just keep it a bit light, to enjoy it and crack a joke with one another and can you take us into whatever that might be?

Rassie van der Dussen

Yeah, there are a few lighter moments. At the start, it's obviously pretty tense over bowling well. So, you have a very sharp focus there. But Quinny is never too far away from a joke.

I can't think of too many examples today, but he does keep you on your toes. At a stage today, he hit a four, and it was quite obvious he was going for four, and I was looking away, and he was like, "'Rush, rush, rush!" Like, And I looked up as if I should run and he was just like, come on, come on, stay with the game type thing.

So, no, I mean, he's one of my favourite guys to battle with. He doesn't speak too much out there, but like what he says makes so much sense and to get access to what he's thinking on the other end, it's just really good.

[Reporter:]

In this tournament, South Africa had the fewest dot balls and yet the most boundaries. It's a rare scenario because teams can usually focus on only one of them. Is this something that you guys talk about when you are laying out your batting plans?

Rassie van der Dussen

Like I mentioned earlier, I think that's a result of what we want to do when we're out in the middle. We talk about what's - assessing condition and what's the correct option and always having the correct intent. And that sort of differs throughout the innings, your options, and your intent. But we know if we can tick those boxes, naturally you put yourself in a better position to score and to be in positions to manoeuvre the ball where you want to.

We don't really look to tick those boxes per se, but I think they tell a story in hindsight of where we are and how we want to go about it I suppose.

Cricket, Proteas, CWC 2023, New Zealand cricket

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