12/04/2022
David Miller expects South Africa to target Pakistans struggling Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan in Thursdays T20 World Cup clash.

The sides face off at the Sydney Cricket Ground in what is a must-win game for Pakistan, who need a victory to keep their hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive.

Meanwhile, unbeaten South Africa head into the match on the back of a five-wicket victory over India.

Victory for the Proteas would see them return to the top of Group 2 and end Pakistan’s hopes of qualifying in the process.

Pakistan’s struggles have, in large part, been down to their misfiring top-order batters. Captain Babar Azam has accumulated just eight runs across his three innings in the tournament, while Mohammad Rizwan scored four and 14 against India and Zimbabwe respectively, before returning to form with 49 against the Netherlands last time out.

Miller knows Babar and Rizwan – who has scored 2,214 T20I runs since the start of 2021, the most of any batter – are still world class, but believes South Africa’s in-form bowling attack are a match for any team.

He told reporters: “This game is all about confidence, and yeah, they haven’t probably performed the way they’ve wanted to, but they’re world-class players, and we’re expecting them to come out and bring their A-game and be up for the challenge.

“It’s by all means not just going in there and expecting to get them out first ball or early up. We’ve got to work really hard for every wicket, and hopefully we can get them early and the Pakistan middle order under pressure a little bit earlier than later.”

South Africa pacemen Wayne Parnell (3-15) and Lungi Ngidi (4-29) limited India to 113-9 on Sunday, though the Proteas still relied on a solid partnership between Miller (59 not out) and Aiden Markram (52) to get over the line in Perth.

Miller is the most capped T20I player in South Africa’s squad, and knows his experience is of huge benefit in the biggest moments.

“Experience is a really valuable thing,” he said. “In the previous game, we were in a little bit of trouble, there was a lot of pressure to win the game and it’s just about slowing the process down and understanding what is required right now.

“In the past we maybe could have got a little hasty. It’s just trying to weather the storm.”

Pakistan have lost 11 T20Is in 2022, and one more defeat would see them equal their worst-ever tally in the format in a single year (12 in 2010).

South Africa on the other hand are aiming to bring up a 10th T20I win of the year, though they have lost their last two meetings with Pakistan in the format.