David Miller can carve a path for South Africa to be World Champions
David Miller has been in fine touch recently with bat|
South Africa have been a strong outfit in world cricket but an ICC Trophy has always eluded them in the past in spite of the presence of some top-class players. However, it seems like David Miller can make a difference for South Africa and can take them to a title win in 2022 T20 World Cup
South Africa have always been one of the strong outfits in world cricket. Several greats of the game like Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, and many more have featured for the country. The team has advanced to the knockouts of the ICC tournaments on several occasions but never managed to win the coveted trophy. They never made it to the finals of the ICC events and that labeled the team as ‘chokers’. South Africa have played eight ODI World Cups and made it to the semi-finals on four occasions before exiting. 1999 World Cup might have been their best shot as they played a draw in a close contest against Australia in the semi-final but the rules back then handed Australia a spot in the final.
The story goes the same for T20 World Cups as they have played seven World Cups and managed to reach semi-finals on only two occasions. The team had a quality bowling unit but they were lacking in a collective effort to proceed in the tournament. South Africa will be currently gearing up for the T20I World Cup to be played later this year in Australia. The team had stars of the game like AB de Villers or Faf du Plessis on their side in the past. This time around, the team doesn’t feature a superstar in the shortest format of the game but David Miller can take them to glory in the World Cup with his terrific form and his role in the squad.
Players batting at number five had always played an important role for South Africa. JP Duminy is the highest scorer for the team in T20Is with 1934 runs from 74 T20I innings at 38.68 and a strike rate of 126.24. He used to play a vital role in holding the middle order together and Miller can play a similar kind of role. Duminy has 531 runs from 21 innings while at 44.25 and a strike rate of 133.75. F Behardien was another batter at number five who played a crucial role in the lower-middle order for South Africa. He amassed 248 runs from 11 innings at 118.6. Miller has to play a similar kind of role like these two and he is doing better so far scoring the most number of runs at number five for South Africa in T20Is.
David Miller was the most experienced player on the team who toured India for a T20I series recently. He has played 87 innings and scored 1882 T20I runs at 32.44 at a strike rate of 141.71. In terms of strike rate, only Heinrich Klassen is ahead of him with 143.91 in T20Is while only Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen have a better average than him. The World Cup will be played in Australia and so the pitches will offer pace and bounce for sure. Miller is good on the back foot and also he enjoys a good record against fast bowlers. The left-handed aggressor has 1238 runs in the shortest format while facing pacers with a strike rate of 151 will be crucial in Australia.
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Miller’s recent form in the IPL 2022 was a display of what he can achieve with his ability to play aerial strokes at will and find the sweet spot of the bat more often. 2022 turned out to be the best season for Miller as he played a key role for Gujarat Titans scoring 481 runs from 16 matches at 68.71 and a strike rate of 142.73. He played a key role in the lower middle order and also provided some hitting at the back end for the team. He and Hardik Pandya scored a major share of runs for the team and Miller also displayed his ability to accomplish tough chases. With Miller in the squad, big targets also look achievable even if the team loses early wickets.
The South African left-hander batsman usually struggles against spin. However, he changed it this time around scoring 206 runs at an average of 103 and a strike rate of 145.1 against spinners in IPL 2022. This transformation of handling the slow bowlers well will be quite handy in the World Cup. South Africa will play some matches against teams with quality spin attacks and in such cases, the team can rely on Miller to score runs and tackle the opposition spinners very well. He continued his terrific form in the recent series against India and South Africa. He was middling the ball regularly and was in good touch. He also scored a half-century in the series.
Miller also provides a balance in the team to maintain the right-left combination in the batting order. Having a left-handed lower middle-order batter with consistency and ability to attack from any moment is rare to get and South Africa have a special player like Miller in their line-up. The team played a 2-2 draw in the series against India and it was a good performance to take a lead in the first two matches while touring a strong cricketing nation like India. With the World Cup approaching soon, South Africa will rely on David Miller for a good finish and will also expect him to step up in crunch situations in the way he did it for Gujarat Titans in this IPL season.
It has been a dream for a long time for the South African team and their fans to win a World Cup Trophy. The team already have a quality bowling attack and will need their batting to step up. David Miller will play a key role with his experience and the terrific form he is going through currently in their World Cup journey.