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David Miller inspires South Africa to T20 World Cup win over Netherlands
Cricket Sport

David Miller inspires South Africa to T20 World Cup win over Netherlands

New York has hosted four World Cup games in the last week, and the locals who knew nothing much about cricket seven days ago are starting to feel pretty familiar with this odd sport in which anything above a hundred runs could well be a match-winning total, fours and sixes are as hard to come by as home runs, and the USA, Canada and the Netherlands are all genuine contenders for the title. The Dutch came awfully close to knocking off South Africa at the Nassau County Ground on Saturday, but lost, in the end, by four wickets with just seven balls left to spare.

Given that the Netherlands won this fixture in the last T20 World Cup, and then again in the ODI version last year, the result must count as yet another upset in a week that’s been full of them. It was mostly down to David Miller, who scored a superb 59 off 51 balls, the most anyone has made at this ground yet. He shared a stand of 65 with Tristan Stubbs.

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South Africa were chasing only 103, but their top order went about it like they were terrified they might get shouted at for hitting the ball into grandmother’s flower beds again. It didn’t take long for everything to start going wrong for them. Quinton de Kock was run out without facing when his partner Reeza Hendricks bamboozled him with a fine “yes, no, yes again” two-step off the first ball of the innings. There’s nothing like losing your best player that way to scramble the nerves, and in the very next over Hendricks was clean-bowled by Logan van Beek.

It became two for three when Viv Kingma had Aiden Markram caught down the leg side, and then 12 for four when he got Heinrich Klaasen at deep square leg. But Miller and Stubbs settled in, and steadily turned the innings around.

For a long while, it looked like the Dutch would struggle to make the few they did. Marco Jansen’s height made him almost unplayable on this springy pitch, and Anrich Nortje’s pace was hardly any easier to face. They were 35 for four off ten overs, but Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan van Beek cobbled together 54 for the seventh wicket. Engelbrecht was born and raised in South Africa, and even played alongside Hendricks in the national U19 team at the World Cup back in 2008.

Engelbrecht quit the sport in 2016 and took it up again on the weekends only after the finance company he had joined sent him off to work in the Netherlands. His dismissal here, for a fine 45 off 40 balls, turned out to be key. There were just five balls left in the innings, but his teammates managed only one run off them. And in the end the Netherlands’ bowlers needed just that extra handful of runs to defend. South Africa needed 27 off 22 balls when Stubbs was out, but Miller made pretty short work of them by hitting three sixes and a four.

Source: theguardian.com