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June 18, 2019

Quinton de Kock

Birmingham, England, UK

Q. Quinton, I know it's still pretty early in the tournament, but are you guys feeling like this is one of the biggest games that you guys are playing in the last sort of four or five years?
QUINTON DE KOCK: No, not really. I think, obviously, it's a big game for us, but in saying that, our next three or four games that we have, they're all going to be big games anyway for us for the rest of the tournament. We're just going to have to go out there, keep our heads steady, and play freely.

Yeah, obviously, playing against New Zealand is going to be a tough competition, but I'm sure it will be a good game.

Q. Quinton, you say there are big games after tomorrow and a couple of more, but if you lose tomorrow, there are no more big games. Isn't that situation? You said that you're taking it as one because there are big games still to come, but if you lose tomorrow, there are no more big games. It's done, isn't it?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I guess so. Tomorrow is a quarterfinal, I guess you could say it, but if we do win it, it's another big game again. Could be -- obviously, it is a big game, but there's a lot more that we are focusing on also. We have to win all the games, not just focus on tomorrow. But in saying that, we know how good New Zealand are playing at the moment. They are a big team in World Cups. They always seem to step up. Yeah, so it's going to be a tough one anyway.

Q. Do you think that the New Zealand team is complacent coming into this game?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I don't know. I haven't been focused on them, to be honest, but highly doubt it. I know them pretty well, a lot of the players. They're pretty mild people. They're very athletic people. They're always competitive to whoever they play against.

Yeah, I don't see them as being complacent no matter who they play against. I'm sure they're going to come out firing tomorrow and with a lot of confidence.

Q. Quinny, after coming off a win, with a fully fit squad of 15 guys, yourself and Hash got a few runs in the previous game, do you feel like this is the best place that you guys as a team has been in before a game?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I think it's -- I think, before our first game that we played against England, we were in a pretty good space also then, mentally and with preparation. Then obviously, during the course of the tournament, obviously after losing all the time, obviously, there's always a bit of a slump in being mentally strong. Obviously, it's a long tournament, it's a tough tournament, and obviously getting a win again has given us high hopes.

So, yeah, we are pretty confident at the moment. It's just about taking it out there and giving the guys a good show.

Q. Quinny, you spoke about playing freely. Would you say there were some glimpses of that against Afghanistan? What will it take to play freely against a very good New Zealand base attack?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I think for every guy it works differently. They will obviously prepare by themselves today, and they'll figure it out. For me, it's just about playing my natural game. Nothing different, I guess. Just going out there, playing it as I see it. That's just about it, I guess.

Q. Quinny, just on that, these are two sides that rely on taking wickets with the new ball and relying on the top order. Does that kind of put the battle between yourself and Hashim and the Kiwi openers? Does that place more emphasis on it? Do you feel more responsibility going into this game than you do any other game?
QUINTON DE KOCK: No, not really, or not at all actually. We've played against them so many times. We played against the opening bowlers numerous amount of times, so we know what we're going to get. It's not like we don't know what we're up against. We know exactly what we're up against. So the emphasis is on the whole game, not just about bat and ball up front.

It's about being well prepared up front and dominating in the middle and obviously with a good finish with bat and ball. So no, I don't think it's all down just to the start of their bowlers and us up front.

Q. Given the last time you played New Zealand you won, does that give you more confidence going into that game, or do you sort of see it as a clean slate?
QUINTON DE KOCK: Yeah, it's a clean slate. It was such a long time ago anyway. I would say it's long forgotten anyway. So come in with a fresh mind tomorrow. Yeah, just come out with clear heads and just try to play the best cricket we can.

Q. Your opening partnership with Hash is one that's been successful for a long time. Can you tell us how it's progressed over the years, if it's changed at all, that relationship between the two of you, as you've gotten more experienced and accomplished over the years and he's where he is now?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I don't think it's changed that much, to be honest. Obviously, well, we didn't have much of a chance to bat too much together in the beginning of the year. So we obviously had a relationship break for a little while. No, it's good to be batting with him again. We rely on each other a lot out there. I think we complement each other really well, the way we go about things. Yeah, it's just good to be batting with him again.

Q. Quinton, yourself and Faf and Rassie have been South Africa's most consistent batsmen so far. What do you think you guys are doing that some of the other players aren't?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I'm not too sure, to be honest. Just I think -- I don't know. I'm not too sure, to be honest. I think, just for me, I'm just trying to keep things simple.

Obviously, Faf, he does his different things -- or he does things differently to the way I do things and the way I prepare myself mentally, and just being prepared with the bat and the gloves.

Rassie, I mean, he's been on the circuit for so long. Yes, he hasn't played a lot of international cricket, but he's been playing franchise cricket for so long that he understands this game pretty well.

I'm not too sure how they're doing it. I haven't decided to ask them ever. But, yeah, whatever they're doing, just keep on doing it.

Q. There's a lot of importance given to the momentum. You guys didn't have the best start in the tournament. Is there any strategical different approach you're going to take plus any changes expected for tomorrow's match?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I think the only thing that's changing is just the way we come into the game mentally. We just need to be mentally strong, I think. I think that's the only thing that's going to change. I think we're a pretty successful ODI team anyway going over the years. So we don't need to change anything. Obviously, it just becomes a mental game at World Cup, trying to deal with all the pressures and stuff.

Team changes, I'm not too sure yet. I don't know anything. I'm not the captain or selector, so I can't tell you anything. We'll only find out later.

Q. Quinny, how would you compare your experience at the 2015 World Cup and dealing with the pressures there to your experience this time, obviously being a bit older and a different set of pressures?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I think, obviously, 2015 I was young -- well, I'm still a youngster now, but back then I was really a baby. I was playing my first ever World Cup. I think I put too much pressure on myself. I really wanted to do well.

And now that I see it a second time, I understand what I did wrong in the first one, and I understand what needs to get done now. So, yeah, just being mentally free. Yeah, and just trying to enjoy my cricket as much as I can, not like last time in the World Cup. There was too many pressures on myself, or I was putting too much pressure on myself. This year I'm trying to take it as easy as I can and just try and do my best.

Q. What's the mood like within the South African team? Are you deflated, or are you pumped up and ready to ruin the Kiwis?
QUINTON DE KOCK: We're pretty chilled at the moment. Obviously, our practices have been quite hectic. We've put a lot of emphasis on our energy going into the games. Obviously, the situation we're in right now, our energy needs to be better than ever. So, yeah, obviously, we are ready to go out there and give it our best shot tomorrow and for the rest of the other games.

Q. Quinton, you mentioned New Zealand being a big team at World Cups. South Africa haven't beaten them the last four times at a World Cup, and yet normally in bilateral series you guys do beat them. Can you put your finger on why there's that difference between World Cups and normal bilateral play?
QUINTON DE KOCK: I think, if I knew, I would tell you. To be honest, I don't know. I think I haven't been part of all those other World Cups, just the one. So the way I see it, I've only been part of a team where they've beaten us once. Obviously, going into tomorrow, it's a clean slate. We're not worried how many times they've beaten us at a World Cup or how many times we've beaten them in a bilateral series. It just comes down to tomorrow, I guess.

Q. Quinny, you were there in 2015. Was that the most emotional atmosphere you played in at Eden Park that day, and has it come up at all this week?
QUINTON DE KOCK: The second most at the moment. Obviously, this IPL final this year, that was up there. But then Eden Park, obviously, Auckland, that was pretty intense, especially experienced it from a first time ever, that vibe that was going through the stadium. It was just so noisy. You're just trying to concentrate, but it was tough to deal with it. Yeah, hopefully tomorrow we get a nice crowd in, and we can actually get some South African supporters in tomorrow.

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