Relieved after winning their first game of the World Cup in five outings, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis heaped praise on his bowlers especially Imran Tahir, saying the leg-spinner has single-handedly made the team strong.
South Africa notched up a comfortable nine-wicket win over Afghanistan here on Saturday night with man-of-the-match Tahir (4/29) and Chris Morris (3/13) wreaking havoc to bundle out the war-torn nation for a meagre 125. The Proteas then reached the target in 28.4 overs.
"Morris and Tahir were fantastic in the middle overs as they got wickets. He (Tahir) has single-handedly made us a strong team in the last two years with his ability to take wickets in the middle overs," Du Plessis said after the match.
"Imran as always is special, especially on a wicket like that which is not suited to spin."
The captain, however, insisted that there was no time to relax as now the South Africans would need to win all their remaining matches in order to make the semifinals of the World Cup.
"Hopefully this is a real confidence booster for everyone on the team. And there's a little bit of weight that you feel that's off your shoulders now, so now the guys -- we know what's lying ahead," said Du Plessis.
"We need to win every game that we play. But today was a really good step in the right direction," he added.
South Africa had a dismal start to their World Cup campaign, losing three straight games to England, Bangladesh and India before a wash-out against the West Indies.
Stating that the players had upped their game against Afghanistan, Du Plessis said: "Today was a good day for us. We spoke a lot about it and today we were good. Given the nature of the wicket, conducive for seam bowlers, it would have been a challenge. It was important to get a good start, the wicket was not very conducive to spin.
"Our cricket today was much better and more competitive. We spoke about having more energy in the field and you could really see a big difference in the team."
"It was important for (Hashim) Amla to get amongst the runs, he will be important for us in the upcoming games. In the next four games, net run rate is not going to play a massive role if you win those games. So we need Amla to score runs for us, hence he needed a not-out innings today," Du Plessis pointed out.
"Initially, it was just making sure we get a good foundation. Quinton batted really well. He transferred the pressure and took the attack on."
There were two rain interruptions during the game but Du Plessis feels that allowed the bowlers to regroup after a middling start.
"Maybe the break came at a nice time. It was just a case of reminding the guys not to get frustrated with doing the things we need to do and not to feel we need to change our plans or panic.