South Africa aim to top the Group 2 standings after toppling India in their previous league encounter and the next step in that direction would be to beat Pakistan on Thursday. Pakistan have lost to India and Zimbabwe before beating the Netherlands and will be bowing out of the group stage if they fail to beat the Saffers, irrespective of the result against Bangladesh in their last group game.
While that Pakistani spirit would keep the Saffers on high alert, South Africa seem to have been enjoying a calming effect in their set-up, with roles being well-defined and players living up to the billing. One of their key players to manage the chaos is David Miller, whose penchant for scoring against all kinds of bowling has become well-known in 2022. Such has been the domino effect that it has spread across the squad, something Miller acknowledged in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“I suppose we are finding lots of ways to win. We've done it over a period of time now. I'd say probably the last year, we've found ourselves in tricky situations and managed to get over the line. I think the continuity of the squad over time, guys have managed to sort of find their roles and sort of if one guy isn't doing well, another guy picks up the slack,” Miller said.
“Yeah, it's difficult to be successful in this format, as there's a lot of different kinds of variables, but we've managed to do well and play as a team. I suppose if the batters are doing their job, then the all rounders and bowlers, we don't really need them to bat.
“But obviously training, the guys are really putting in the hard work. The tail end, allrounders, as well, because going into competitions like this in one or two games we might need them. So yeah, definitely putting in the yards,” the destructive batter added.
India found it hard to negotiate the African pacers on Sunday and the top-order, barring Suryakumar Yadav, failed completely in their pursuit. While a target of 134 was never going to be difficult for the African side, they had to scamper till the last over to get over the line. Miller attributed the same to extra bounce and swing, and added that it was important for him and Aiden Markram to forge a partnership to negate that impact.
“It was the extra bounce, and it was nipping around. The guys were bowling extremely well. Credit to our bowling attack for restricting them to what the total was, and as a batting unit, like I said, we were three down there. It happens in cricket,” Miller said.
“That's where we needed to pick up the slack as middle order. So we managed to get a really good partnership, Aiden and myself, and I suppose just the whole cliche is just one ball at a time and just trying to stay in the moment as much as possible. It was difficult, so it was just managing to try and think your way through it, and if it's difficult for me and Aiden, it's going to be more difficult for the guys coming in.
“It was just a matter of sort of weathering the storm. Fortunately we weren't chasing a huge total, so the run rate got a little bit higher, and then we managed to get it back with one over, one big over, so that was always the thinking, and it worked out. Yeah, so pretty chuffed,” Miller added.