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de Villiers enjoys the chase

Batting first should be avoided in the Twenty20 World Cup, South Africa's AB de Villiers said on Sunday.

It's not easy to find your feet and know if the target you've set is big enough if you bat first," De Villiers told reporters.

"Batting second it's much easier to pace your innings. It's a matter of keeping wickets in hand and making sure that you reach your targets after every five overs.

"If you bat first you have to sum up the conditions and adjust. That takes time and you don't have time in this format of the game."

De Villiers spoke after South Africa beat Australia by eight wickets in the last round of warm-up matches before the tournament starts on Tuesday.

De Villiers said the result would give the hosts a mental edge.

"Victory is always important, especially against Australia because they're a well-drilled side," he said.

"It wasn't just a warm-up game. It's a bit of a psychological advantage to beat the Aussies, and we're full of confidence going into the tournament."

Australia coach Tim Nielsen conceded that his team, who were last in action at the World Cup in April, had been caught short by the lively early spring conditions.

"The fact that the ball has swung quite a bit has caught us off guard," Nielsen told reporters.

"The boys haven't had a hit in a game for four or five months, and to jump straight into games on the back of a few training sessions and against good quality bowling in conditions that have assisted the bowlers has made it tougher."

Australia should have the better of minnows Zimbabwe in their first match of the tournament in Cape Town on Wednesday, but they are likely to face a tougher test against England at the same venue on Friday.

"They have the benefit over us in that they have had a full season of cricket under their belts," Nielsen said.

South Africa play West Indies in the opening match of the tournament in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

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