Pressure test as Proteas face Kiwis

23 March 2015

South Africa faces New Zealand in an ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland on Tuesday. And the opportunity to play in his first World Cup means “everything” to middle-order batsman David Miller.

The 25-year-old says the pressure moments that come with playing in a World Cup event are a privilege and an experience that every cricketer works towards.

“It’s the first World Cup for me and it’s a dream come true,” Miller said in Auckland on Sunday. “To be in a semi-final, that’s another notch on the belt. I’m really excited for what is coming on Tuesday, it’s going to be a great game ahead. New Zealand are playing really well, we are playing really well, so it will be a good contest.”

 


WATCH: South Africans across the country and the world will be supporting our boys for the semifinals. Watch Jean, Ernie Els, Bryan Habana and others get behind our boys. ‪#‎ProteaFire‬

 

“There is obviously a lot of pressure,” Miller said. “A lot of things going on in your head but it’s actually a privilege to be in [a pressured] position. The guys have worked really hard in their careers, all the highs and lows come down to a moment like this.”

New Zealand are unbeaten in the tournament, and as one of the host nations, enter the match as the favourites.

Miller says it will come down to whoever can absorb the most pressure during the key moments, particularly against a side that has been dominant with both bat and ball.

“We have had a game plan over the past two years that we have been sticking to,” he explained. “It’s about everyone coming through at the right times when the team needs them. Pakistan wasn’t a great result but the consistency we have had as a team over the last while has been phenomenal. For us taking that confidence of what’s happened in the past in to Tuesday’s game will be vital. And obviously assessing the situation on the day.”

The Eden Park field dimensions bring a unique factor towards preparation for the match, and will need a change in approach from the batsmen, particularly with the short straight boundaries.

This tour is Mmiller’s first visit to New Zealand. “It’s good to have already played a game [at Eden Park] to get a feel of the ground. The dimensions of the field are really straight and short, long on the square boundaries, so it’s something to get used to.”

The Castle Lager Proteas face New Zealand at Eden Park at 3am on Tuesday. Catch the match live on SuperSport 2, SABC 3 & 2000FM. Build up starts at 2am, play starts at 3am

WORLD CUP MATCHES

Group matches

  • 15 February, 3am: South Africa beat Zimbabwe.
  • 22 February, 5.30am: India beat South Africa.
  • 27 February, 5.30am: South beat West Indies.
  • 3 March, 5.30am: South Africa beat Ireland.
  • 7 March, 3am: Pakistan beat South Africa.
  • 12 March, 3am: South Africa beat United Arab Emirates.

Quater-finals

  • 18 March, 5.30am: South Africa beat Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground
  • 19 March, 5.30am: India beat Bangladesh, Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • 20 March, 5.30am: Australia beat Pakistan, Adelaide Oval
  • 21 March, 3am: New Zealand beat West Indies, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Semifinals

  • 24 March, 3am: South Africa v New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland
  • 26 March, 5.30am: India v Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground

Final

  • 29 March, 5.30am: Melbourne Cricket Ground

Source: Cricket South Africa and ICC