De Villiers has the X-factor, says Du Plessis


Faf du Plessis has backed AB de Villiers to fire at the top of the order for South Africa as they begin their World Twenty20 preparations against England.

Test and one-day captain De Villiers has only scored one half century in his last seven T20 matches for the Proteas, a run that stretches back to March 2014.

He also struggled for runs during the Test and ODI series with England, but finished the latter with a stunning century in Cape Town to secure a 3-2 win for the hosts.

And Du Plessis says there will be no hesitation in sending the 32-year-old out first in the upcoming two T20 matches against England.

"AB has been batting up the top for the last three series, and I don't see that changing," the T20 skipper told a news conference.

"He's an X-factor player, and it's definitely something we see as a wild card for the World Cup.

"He's one of those players who can take a game away every day, and it's something we're optimistic about at this World Cup."

Du Plessis also hopes to have his strike bowler Dale Steyn back for the World T20 - which starts next month - but the paceman is unlikely to feature against England as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

He added: "Dale looks fit. But we said we'd bring him into the mix for the games against Australia, just to give him some extra time to get back."