Graeme Smith

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Consistency has been the key

I know tomorrow's match against India is purely academic but still it would be great to finish the Super Eight stage unbeaten and take that momentum into the semi-finals. We will be resting Jacques Kallis tomorrow as he has a slight niggle in the back. That shouldn't be a problem, however, as we have been playing well and all we have to do is keep playing to the level we have been throughout the tournament. If we do so to our potential and with the same intensity then the other team will have to raise their game even higher to beat us.

 

India has a lot of wonderful talent, and I think one of their challenges will be to bring all this talent together and make it work for them. Another challenge for them is when they are playing away: at home, they are very strong, but they are not so consistent outside India. Not having Sehwag around may have hurt them a little, but they came into the Super Eight without really being tested. No pressure at the group stage could have caused them to lose a bit of their fighting edge, like against England last night.

 

The short nature of this format means that each game is important and the Super Eight is essentially a knock-out, so you really need to be on the money all the time. Maybe bringing in Ravindra Jadeja, who did so well for Rajasthan Royals in this year's IPL, was not such a good idea. This was a crucial match, and for the big games you need the big names that can get involved and take the pressure. Jadeja has a lot of talent, but still has a lot of growing up to do.

 

For us, consistency has been the key: you can't have too much experimentation as that can confuse players. Also, we have been working on certain skills, and the boys have been perfecting their roles. Right through this tournament, each one of them has contributed under pressure. We play well as a team, but each one of them can do well on any given day. And we can see that in Wayne Parnell, who has handled himself very well, and Roelof van der Merwe, who has been very steady.

 

We have come through a really tough Super Eight group, and that bodes well for the semis. We are not really very fussy about who we meet there: we just want to play better than them. We have carried the "favourites" tag throughout the tournament, but have not at all been bothered by it. Ultimately, what it is all about is the pressure of the moment, and playing our best in that moment.

 

We've had some tough games, so it was nice to have an extra day off and get a little peace and quiet at the lovely little hotel we are in after the hustle and bustle of the last week. We have just a week left for the end of our season, so we are looking forward to finishing on a high after an incredible 16 months. Right now, we have a lot of confidence and lot of good planning and leadership has gone in to making us clinical in our approach to each match. Hopefully, we will be able to maintain this for three more games and not take our foot off the gas. (Gameplan)

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