After Miller’s heroics, Proteas get set for tigerish Bangladesh

Tristan Stubbs and David Miller shared a partnership of 65 to help the Proteas defeat the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup on Saturday.
Tristan Stubbs and David Miller shared a partnership of 65 to help the Proteas defeat the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup on Saturday.
Image: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

The best that can be said about South Africa’s four-wicket win against the Netherlands on Saturday is that at least it’s out of the way. 

Have the Proteas reversed the curse? “They're still up on us in the World Cups,” said David Miller, referencing the Dutch having two wins to South Africa's one, in their last three World Cup encounters. 

Miller was the hero in what turned into a gripping adventure for South Africa in pursuit of a lowly target of 104 at Nassau County International Stadium in New York. 

This time the pitch, while still challenging particularly with the new ball, wasn’t to blame for the low scoring. When two of the top four wickets are a run-out and a ‘strangle’ down the legside, it’s more to do with bad judgment and misfortune, than any demons in the surface.

Miller found himself at the crease in the fifth over, the scoreboard reading 12/4. “It's obviously not a great situation,” he chirped.

“The only thing you can control, which I've learnt over the years, is the very next ball. You can quickly fall under a lot of pressure because there's still 90 or 80 to get and we're under pressure. You can't get those in one ball. So, it's just one ball at a time, I was just trying to concentrate on the things that I could control, my breathing, my body language and facing the next ball.”

Gradually, in partnership with Tristan Stubbs, Miller changed the course of the South African run chase; absorbing more pressure for the Dutch, up to the mid-innings drinks break and then after that interval, scoring 35 runs off the next four overs. 

That fifth wicket partnership was worth 65 runs, with Stubbs, up until the ill-judged pull shot that led to his dismissal for 33, showing great maturity.

“Stubbs was phenomenal out there, he always comes with a lot of energy, he's young, he's powerful and I know in our batting line-up, we're boundary strikers. So it was just about managing the singles, rotating strike and changing the momentum through that.”

With two overs left, and Keshav Maharaj at the crease, 16 runs were still required, but Miller ensured the 20th over wouldn’t be played, blasting Bas de Leede for two sixes and wrapping up the win off the fifth ball of the penultimate over. 

“It was just really nice to get over the line today and again a close finish, so it was good,” said Miller, who was named player of the match for his unbeaten 59 which came off 51 balls. 

The Proteas won’t have long to reflect on their performance against the Dutch, with their next clash against Bangladesh, taking place on Monday, in what will be their last match in New York.

Proteas coach Rob Walter, described Bangladesh as a difficult team, which they showed in their narrow two-wicket win against Sri Lanka in Dallas on Friday. 

Bangladesh have a strong bowling unit, led by the experienced quick bowlers Tasken Ahmed and the skilful Mustafizur Rahman. At this year’s tournament, that pace is backed up by their new leg-spinner, Rishad Hossain, who picked up 3/22 against the Sri Lankans.    

“He is a wicket-taking bowler,” said Bangladesh captain, Najmul Shanto. “We always struggled (because) we didn't have a leg spinner. So, that place is filled up for us. I hope he will contribute in the upcoming matches.”


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