India were put in to bat by the Proteas and reached an impressive 331-7 in good batting conditions, before dismissing the South Africans for 305 all out in an exciting contest at the SWALEC stadium in Cardiff.
De Villiers admitted that his side will rue several missed opportunities to win the game, but stressed that the team will take the lessons learned from Thursday’s defeat into their next game against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Monday.
“We got ourselves in a great position to win that game,” said de Villiers. “There was probably something in it with both new balls.
“Robin (Peterson) and I batted really well but you’ve got to maintain that for a long period of time and unfortunately we weren’t quite able to.
“We lost a few wickets but fought back extremely well and I’m proud of that. We adapted really well and it was an amazing effort to keep them down to 330, but we batted really well.
“We’ll take a lot of positives from that and go on against Pakistan when hopefully we’ll be a better team.”
India owe much of the victory to their opening batsmen, with Dhawan (114) and Rohit Sharma (65) sharing an impressive stand of 179.
And while praising the pair’s effort, India captain MS Dhoni was left disappointed that his side weren’t able to put more runs on the board given the conditions.
“Rohit batted really well along with Dhawan, but from the position that we were in, we should have got 35 more runs,” said Dhoni.
“We bowled with three spinners – that was needed at that point. They [South Africa] got off to a very good start. It worked for us and we got those crucial run-outs, which really matters in a match like this.”