The Proteas have this time stamped their authority while batting first, and their skipper Temba Bavuma decided to tried and tested path after winning the toss in the second semifinal.
For a change, the script unfolded differently as South Africa managed just 18 runs and lost two wickets in the first 10 overs. With Rassie van der Dussen also departing soon after, it was left to Miller and Heinrich Klaasen to keep South Africa in the game.
With overcast conditions and a gentle breeze assisting the Aussie seamers, it was not the best of situations for batters to shine. The history of South Africa’s poor knockout results in the World Cup must have added to the pressure, as Miller, who walked in with the side in trouble at 24/4, rightly decided to take his time in rebuilding the innings.
It was a different Miller than the more popularly-known ‘Killer Miller’ of IPL on display.
Miller decided to have a go at none other than Australia’s leading wicket-taker Adam Zampa by lifting the spinner over long-on for a six in the bowler’s second over to bring up South Africa’s 50 in the 17th over. He went on to hit Zampa for three more sixes as Klaasen too grew in confidence to add two more off the same bowler.
The two rekindled memories of their act against the same rivals in the fourth match of their home five-match ODI series in September this year when Miller thrashed an unbeaten 82 off 45 balls while Klaasen got 174 to add 222 off 94 balls for the fifth wicket to lift South Africa to 416/5. The hosts went on to win that match as well as the series 3-2 after being down 0-2 earlier.
Miller, who got 50 in 70 balls with the help of four fours and three sixes, continued in the same vein after part-time spinner Travis Head broke the 95-run stand between him and Klaasen. Miller brought up his 100 — and the team’s 200 — with a huge six off Josh Hazlewood over deep mid-wicket, but fell a delivery later trying to repeat the shot.
“It’s about watching every ball and staying in the moment, trusting your preparation. It’s one-ball-at-a-time,” he said while describing his innings.
Watch ICC World Cup: Australia beat South Africa by 3 wickets in second semifinal to set up title clash with India