Disciplined Miller rescues SA's innings
South Africa’s hopes of nailing down a place in the Champions Trophy semi-finals took a dive in their match against Pakistan at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Wednesday.
AB de Villiers’ team crashed to a total of 219/8 and will now have to depend on their bowling and fielding to avoid their last group game‚ against India at The Oval in London on Saturday‚ becoming a crunch clash.
South Africa’s score was rescued from a fate worse than its eventual mediocrity by David Miller‚ who took guard in the 15th over at 61/3 and batted through six partnerships for his unbeaten 75.
Miller curbed his trademark aggression impressively and grafted hard for his runs‚ facing 104 balls and hitting a solitary four and three sixes.
De Villiers won the toss and chose to bat despite a forecast for showers from 8pm (UK time)‚ and Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla made a slow but steady start to the innings.
But‚ with 40 runs on the board in the ninth over‚ Amla walked across his stumps to slow left-armer Imad Wasim and was trapped in front for 16.
That was the start of a slide that claimed six wickets for 78 runs in 20.4 overs.
Graeme Smith‚ the former South Africa captain who is commentating on the tournament on television‚ was due to give a batting masterclass for spectators during the supper break.
Perhaps some of South Africa’s current players should attend.
De Villiers‚ who got out for four to a splayed-footed hoik to cover against Sri Lanka at The Oval on Saturday‚ failed again.
This time he reached for a wide delivery‚ which was bowled by Imad‚ and spooned a catch to point to suffer the only first-ball dismissal in his 212 innings in this format.
Hasan Ali‚ who took 3/24‚ began a raid of 3/10 in his first four overs when South Africa’s bolthole batsman‚ Faf du Plessis‚ dragged the fast bowler’s second delivery onto his stumps.
Hasan then removed JP Duminy‚ who drove footlessly and edged to slip‚ and Wayne Parnell‚ whose off stump was set askew by an away swinger‚ with consecutive deliveries. Miller and Chris Morris kept the Pakistanis at bay in a stand of 47 that survived Miller being poleaxed by a yorker from Mohammad Amir and being given out leg-before for 47 — Miller referred the decision and the ball was shown to be missing leg — and Morris being cleanbowled for 22 by Junaid Khan with what was correctly called a no-ball.
Junaid ended the partnership legitimately in the 43rd over when he had caught Morris caught in the deep for 28.
That brought Kagiso Rabada to the crease to share a stand of 48‚ the biggest of the innings.
It was snuffed out by a fine running‚ diving catch by Hasan deep in the covers to dismiss Rabada for 26‚ his highest score in his 14 one-day innings.
TMG Digital/TMG Sport