After years of South Africa being lumbered with the “chokers” tag, captain AB de Villiers boldly declared Monday the World Cup was theirs for the taking this time.
De Villiers was in a confident mood on the eve of the semi-final in Auckland against New Zealand with neither side having made a World Cup final before.
Ahead, lies a date next weekend in Melbourne with the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final between defending champions India and former winners Australia.
“We have a lot of confidence behind us. I feel the team is in a really good space at a really good time. We have a lot of reason to be confident,” de Villiers said.
“If we play to our full potential, no one is going to stop us in this tournament.”
In a brief series at the start of the New Zealand summer, South Africa came out on top 2-0 before New Zealand won a warm up match days before the World Cup started.
In previous World Cups they have met six times with New Zealand holding the edge 4-2, including the last three encounters.
However, de Villiers was not interested in looking back. All that mattered to him was how his class of 2015 performed.
“There has been a lot of emphasis on our past and South Africa not doing well at World Cups. I have gone through the whole package of emotions, fighting it, accepting it, then fighting it again,” he said.
“I honestly am not putting emphasis on that at all.
“We know if we play a good game of cricket we will come out on top. We are that confident in our abilities as a cricket team.
“We have been through a lot of hardship in the past with our World Cup games but we feel very fresh and are very excited for tomorrow.”
The semi-final may be a high-stakes game, and New Zealand have talked about the hours spent analysing the South Africans, but de Villiers was not concerned about the New Zealanders nor the injury that has ruled out speedster Adam Milne.