AB refuses to accept 'underdogs' tag

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South Africa captain AB de Villiers has refused to call his side the 'underdogs' for the ODI series against India, saying that his players have a good record against the number one-ranked side when on SA soil.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers has refused to call his side the 'underdogs' for the ODI series against India, saying that his players have a good record against the number one-ranked side when on SA soil.

India have never won an ODI series in South Africa, and despite losing their most recent series against Pakistan just a week ago, De Villiers is confident of keeping the shut-out against India going.

De Villiers said on the eve of the series: "Some of the really knowledgeable guys will say we're underdogs, but there is no way we are going to stand back and allow that to happen.

"There's no chance against anyone in South Africa that we can afford to be called the underdogs. I know if we play anywhere near our full potential, there's no one in the world that can stop us here in our conditions.

"We need to remember we're playing against a sub-continent team coming here who've had a very bad record here and there's no need for us to stand back."

De Villiers then added that while India's batsmen were superb, their bowling attack could be erratic and the Proteas would be looking to get on top of the visitors, especially in the death overs.

He said: "They're certainly not the best bowling attack in the world, there's no doubt about it. They've got a decent bowling attack that batters sometimes feel they can get on top of and then they seem to get wickets.

"We won't be underestimating them, but we do feel we can get on top of them if we do the hard yards and have wickets in hand at the end of the innings."

India skipper MS Dhoni was also hesitant to assign dominant and inferior roles, saying that being 'favourites' didn't matter much on the day if you don't execute your plans properly.

He said: "It's not about favourites, it's all about how you play cricket on that particular day.

"We have seen especially in the ODIs you have to get off to a good start with the two balls. It's important how you play the first 10 overs and to have wickets in hand so you can cash in, in those last 10 overs."

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