David Miller has identified struggles at the top as a major flaw in Pakistan’s arsenal ahead of the SCG clash.
David Miller has indirectly agreed that Pakistan are too dependent on the performances of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan ahead of the two sides’ key T20 World Cup encounter on Thursday (November 3rd). The stalwart South African hitter even called him a “area to be mined” for his team’s bowlers as Pakistan enter a must-see Super 12 game at the SCG.
Pakistan’s only victory in the tournament came against the Netherlands, with them in the final thrillers against rivals India and the fiery Zimbabweans. The struggles of Skipper Babar and his ally Rizwan at the top put pressure directly on their unstable middle order and it failed to respond shrewdly.
Heading into the tournament, the opening pair were central to Pakistan’s strategy of building a foundation and asking the rest of the field to support their powerful play. But after three games, Rizwan has just 67 points, swollen mostly from his 49 against the Dutch, while Babar has managed just eight points.
David Miller says repeated scoring issues will mean a not-so-confident Babar-Rizwan duo at the top, something the South African tailors will look to exploit following their own successful outing against powerhouse India in Perth .
David Miller on the Babar-Rizwan struggles
“I think this is an area to exploit”, he said at the pre-match press conference. “This game is about trust, and yeah, they probably didn’t play the way they wanted to, but they’re world-class players, and we expect them to come out and bring their A-game and be ready for the challenge.”
“It’s certainly not just about going there and expecting them to get the first ball out or early. We have to work very hard for every wicket, and hopefully we can get them early and put the ball on. ‘Pakistani intermediate order under pressure a little sooner than later’, Miller added.
Miller was speaking to the media on the back of personal glory against India as he continued his rich vein of form with a winning half-century in a tricky pursuit in Perth. Holding off an impressive Indian bowling attack, the player showed his strong technique and temperament with a 59* strike from 46 deliveries and powered the Proteas to the 134-point target with two balls remaining.
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The experienced southpaw showed maturity and common sense that helped South Africa avoid a chokehold, something they have always had a notorious reputation for. David Miller said this was a case of all past experiences coming together and helping him navigate a chase where South Africa were 3 out of 40 at the 10 mark and could have easily gone down feeling the need to work under pressure.
“Yeah, I mean, it was a good run last year, a year and a half. For me personally, I just try to build on the past experiences. I feel like the experience is a really valuable thing, and for example, on the previous match, we had a bit of a struggle, a lot of pressure to win the match, obviously, and it’s just a matter of slowing down the process, understanding what is needed in this moment”, he said.
The player credited fellow half-centurion Aiden Markram for keeping him calm in the middle and making sure he didn’t have to press the gas pedal deep into the inning when he crushed R Ashwin in the 18th and made it considerably easier.
“I feel like in the past maybe we could have been a bit rushed. I really struggled up front when Aiden was playing really well. So there was a lot of point balls, and you can get a little pissed off and try to counterattack like So I’m just trying to slow myself down and realize that if I’m going through this, partnership is way more important than just going out and giving my wicket away.
“It helped that Aiden was doing really, really well and then broke through a boundary, and the momentum is kind of going in your direction,” Miller added.