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Ken Borland

T20 is not backgammon, keep it simple

Posted on December 21, 2021 by Ken

People sometimes like to think of T20 cricket as being as complicated a strategic game as, say, backgammon, but for David Miller, the Proteas need to keep it as simple as possible in their crunch World Cup game against England in Sharjah on Saturday.

Of course South Africa have worked hard on implementing the right tactics against the tournament favourites, but Miller said the team, since bouncing back from their loss to Australia in their opening match, have broken their play down into small bits.

“We’ve bounced back from the loss and been really good in the last three games,” Miller said. “We have a blueprint that we are striving to perfect, and although there has been huge growth, we are still learning.

“It’s a massive game for us but we mustn’t be looking at the end result. We have to stick to our processes, take it ball-by-ball, over-by over. It’s a big cliché, but we have to do that.

“We need to be clear in our planning and preparation against England, we want to simplify what we have to do, and it’s important to really enjoy ourselves out there as well,” Miller said.

While South Africa have certainly not cured all their batting issues after some ham-fisted efforts in recent times, to have Miller back in peak form after injury is a massive bonus and the successive sixes he smoked in the final over to beat Sri Lanka will live long in the memory.

Top-level sport only loans its competitors confidence depending on the vagaries of their results, but the 32-year-old left-hander said the Proteas currently feel like they are riding a wave, having not only won consistently over the last six months but also, and certainly not coincidentally, having kept the same squad of players together.

“We’re nice and focused and ready for the next game, the team is in a good space and feeling refreshed. We’ve had a similar squad for the last six months and we’ve built up a really nice bond.

“We’re finding ways to win matches and that makes us really chuffed. We’ve won 12 of our last 14 games and that has definitely given us confidence going into this must-win match.

“In those tight moments in a game, you grab hold of every bit of confidence that you can. Winning does not necessarily have to be pretty – some of our games have been clinical and smooth, and some we still won when our performance was neither here nor there.

“We’ve happened to win one or two close games now, and hopefully that confidence, momentum and growth can keep going. Having the same squad means that we’ve learnt how to play with each other, what makes your team-mates tick,” Miller said.

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