WORLD T20: Miller pulls South Africa through after Dutch scare in New York

SUMMARY: South Africa 106-6 from 18.5 overs (Miller 59*, Stubbs 33, Kingma 2-12, van Beek 2-21) beat Netherlands 103-9 from 20 overs (Engelbrecht 40, Baartman 4-11, Nortje 2-19, Jansen 2-20) by four wickets

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David Miller made an unbeaten half-century as South Africa avoided a hat-trick of World Cup upsets against the Netherlands with a nervy four-wicket victory in New York.

The Dutch posted a modest 103-9 after being asked to bat first as Sybrand Engelbrecht’s disciplined 40 off 45 balls helped them recover from 48-6.

Ottniel Baartman bowled beautifully to finish with 4-11 for the Proteas, but a shock looked on the cards when the Netherlands reduced South Africa to 3-3 and then 12-4.

Tristan Stubbs (33) and Miller steadied the ship for South Africa before the Netherlands attack rallied to take two quick wickets late in the game.

South Africa needed 15 off the final 12 balls but Miller got it done with an over to spare with some clean ball striking.

He sealed the victory with a huge heave off Bas de Leede over square leg to finish on 59 not out off 51 balls.

Dutch give Proteas a real fright

The Netherlands have been South Africa’s bogey team in recent tournaments.

A Dutch win over the Proteas at the last T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval ended South Africa’s semi-final hopes.

Then at last year’s 50-over version the Oranje sprung another surprise in Dharamsala when they ended South Africa’s unbeaten run in the tournament.

South Africa would have been desperate to avoid the embarrassment of a defeat to the Associate nation, where there is a small but enthusiastic cricket community numbering some 6,000 active players.

There was certainly a zeal to the way in which the Proteas’ bowlers approached their task, hitting the right lengths with excellent use of the short ball.

Anrich Nortje (2-19) and Marco Jansen (2-20) backed up the excellent Baartman.

They were, however, blunted by Engelbrecht, a former South Africa under-19 player who moved to the Netherlands to work in real estate, as he rescued his side from a parlous position.

He only hit two fours and one six but eked the Dutch to some sort of total with assistance from Logan van Beek’s useful 23.

A weekend atmosphere at the ground attended by people from around globe – there are reputedly 800 languages spoken in New York – created the best atmosphere at this venue in Eisenhower Park so far.

Quinton de Kock’s run out for a duck without facing began a series of wickets which saw any of 14,167 crowd, mostly cheering on the Dutch, lingering at the pretzel, hot dog and bagel stalls rush back into the stands.

Reeza Hendricks was bowled by a beauty from Van Beek, Aiden Markram was strangled down the leg side by the impressive Vivian Kingma (2-12) who then snared Heinrich Klaasen.

There must have been panic in the South Africa dressing room but a combination of youth and experience plugged the holes in what looked to be a sinking ship.

Stubbs had struggled in South Africa’s first game on this pitch, but played with calm fluency alongside the wise head of Miller.

Paul van Meekeren’s miserly four overs, costing just 13 runs, kept the Dutch in the contest before De Leede and Van Beek removed Stubbs and Jansen.

Miller pointedly turned down a single off the last ball of 17th over and backed himself to get the job done against De Leede in the penultimate over. He did just that. (BBC)

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