India and South Africa face off in Cardiff today in Group B. South Africa are likely to be without Dale Steyn who is battling injury.
On the eve of the game, De Villiers spoke to the media. Here are the excerpts
Question: Have you any news on Dale Steyn yet?
AB de Villiers: Yeah, it's obviously not looking good, but we'll just reassess tonight and tomorrow morning and make a final call on that. It's sort of touch-and-go, but it is, obviously, an issue and something we'll have to look at. There are a few more games coming up. It's not the one and only game so we wouldn't like to get him out of the rest of the tournament.
Q: Bowlers might play a really more important role; what is the reaction of your bowlers after the practice and the conditions here?
De Villiers: I don't think we were going to look into it too much. It's a matter of really assessing it as we can. We all know in England the new ball is important, the first 10 overs to try and get wickets, which has happened here in the last few weeks or so. Looking at the stats as well, all of the short division games, the local games, they get a lot of wickets in the first 10, 20 overs. So we'll be trying to target that, but we're not going to complicate things. We'll try to keep it simple, and just to seize on the day tomorrow. We'll try to assess as quickly as possible what lines and lengths are working for us, and we'll have definitely an attacking mindset of picking up wickets early on.
Q: When this tournament started in 1998, South Africa won it, and Kallis played a great role. Now in this group, there are three Champions, yourself, West Indies and India. Do you think this is a group of depth, and what will be your target in the last edition of the Champions Trophy?
De Villiers: It's a very tough group and we know that we are up against really good opposition. All of the groups are really, really good teams. There is no room to hide in these kind of tournaments. We've experienced that before. The team that won it in 1998 was a very good ODI team and we'd obviously like to repeat that.
We don't have the likes of Kallis or Smith here, but I feel there is a very good energy on the site. Like I've mentioned before in a few interviews, I try to look on the positive side of things and look at things like our energy. And the movement that we'll have in the field, for instance, will be a big plus for us.
There is enough experience, I believe, in a guy like Dale or Morne, myself, Hashim, we've all played a lot of cricket and, like I said, there is no room to hide in these tournaments, and we'll be using that kind of experience and our energy that we have on our team to get out there and win one game at a time and hopefully take the trophy back home.
Q: Just in terms of playing, you play against these guys (India players) on a weekly basis (in IPL). Does that help in terms of playing against a side who you know who you are?
De Villiers: It helps to know they're a very dangerous side. I've spent a lot of time with some of the individuals on the team and they're all wonderful players. We're going to have to beat them playing together as 11 guys. That is the only way to beat a talented side like them. We'll have to come out like a pack of wolves tomorrow and really try towards one goal and that is to win the game.
It definitely helps strategy-wise to have played with a few guys in the past, and we get a lot of the information from the other guys that played with them on other teams as well. I don't think there are any ups or downs for both teams. We all know our games, we know the individuals, we know what everyone's capable of. It's a matter of playing together as a team tomorrow and the best team will come out on top.
Q: You said as a bowling attack you'll go out and attack. Is there any plan, considering players like Suresh Raina and a few other youngsters are not good against bouncers, is there any plan to bowl short and faster or any bouncer plans?
De Villiers: There are specific plans to play against every player on the Indian team tomorrow for batting and bowling. So we're just going to follow those game plans and try to expose them wherever we can. We know the first 10 or 15 overs will be very important. Even if we don't get our wickets, we've still got plans in place. And all of us know it's important to get wickets against their batting lineup, and we'll have an attacking them mindset right throughout the game.