AB de Villiers: We don't mind being called chokers

In the shortest knockout match at any World Cup, the Proteas crushed Sri Lanka by nine wickets.

Proteas captain AB de Villiers. Picture: Official Cricket South Africa Facebook page

CAPE TOWN/SYDNEY - Proteas captain AB de Villiers says the team does not mind having the chokers tag, as long as they are winning. South Africa recorded a sensational 9 wicket victory over Sri Lanka in their quarterfinal on Wednesday.

And Quinton de Kock silenced his critics and top scored with 78.

De Villiers says the Proteas are now firmly focused on winning the title.

"I think we like being called chokers, so we will just keep that tag and move along, as long as we keep winning. It's a great achievement from the team.

"Like I said before, we came here to win the World Cup so our next hurdle is the semi-finals and we will try and find our way to get over that hurdle."

De Villiers was full of praise for the South African selectors for keeping De Kock in the team, who prior to today's match had scored just 53 in six innings and his inclusion in the team was uncertain.

But the captain says he knew De Kock would come good.

"We've all been in dark spaces and I think he has been in this tournament. So a lot of credit to the selectors, to the coach, the guys who kept backing him. I think they must have been tempted a few times to let him go and maybe for me to take the gloves but it was a great call from them to stick with him."

He also praised De Kock on his resilience.

"You know what can happen when you let catches go down and it can turn a game upside down and he hung onto them today. The way he batted with confidence was amazing and at that age, to go through a patch like that, and to come out there in a quarterfinals with confidence shows what kind of player he is and what he can achieve in his career."

In the shortest knockout match at any World Cup, the Proteas crushed Sri Lanka by nine wickets with 32 overs to spare at the Sydney Cricket Ground to set up a semi-final meeting with New Zealand or West Indies in Auckland next Tuesday.

A brilliant display of bowling, most notably from spinners JP Duminy and Imran Tahir, set the foundation for a win which was secured by four runs from opener de Kock, who bucked his recent run of poor form with an unbeaten 78.

"A big part of sport is about confidence and the way you believe in your ability, and I truly believe that we feel really strong as a unit and confident going into the semi-finals," De Villiers said.

Such an impressive performance, which did have the air of the last couple of pieces of a jigsaw puzzle falling into place, would charge any side with confidence.

De Villiers, however, said the win had derived from an already established self belief and unity of the team.

"I just think we sort of committed to the fact that we're not going to show any weakness," he explained.

"You know that in knockout games things don't always go your way. You can't dominate cricket games for 100 overs. It never happens.

"You'll take a couple of shots on the chin and the way you take it is really important, not to show any weakness to the opposition.

"I think everyone committed to that really well, and just to know that the guy next to you will go to war with you. I think we felt that walking onto the field today."

Although South Africa have played in three previous World Cup semi-finals, they had never won a single knockout game before Wednesday.