David Miller leads South African fight back to claim second DafaNews Cup T20I
South Africa clinched the DafaNews Cup T20 Series with a 42-run win at Stormont, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Ireland Men v South Africa Men, 2nd T20I DafaNews Cup, Stormont, 22 July 2021
South Africa 159-7 (20 overs; D Miller 75*; P Stirling 2-12, M Adair 2-33)
Ireland 117 (19.3 overs; S Getkate 24; T Shamsi 3-14, B Fortuin 3-16)
South Africa won by 42 runs
South Africa won the toss and elected to bat, but it was Ireland’s bowling effort that got off to the perfect start, with Paul Stirling taking the new ball in the sweltering heat and striking twice in the first over. The two wickets came in near-identical fashion, Temba Bavuma and then Janneman Malan each slicing to Josh Little in the gully.
Mark Adair then bowled Aiden Markram, and while Quinton de Kock played some inventive strokes, twice scooping Little over fine leg, but he fell to Simi Singh’s first delivery, pinned lbw. That brought Miller to the crease, but he began slowly, and Rassie van der Dussen’s dismissal, nicking Little behind off the last ball of the 10th over, left South Africa 58-5 at the halfway stage.
From there Wiaan Mulder and Miller put on the game’s largest and most important stand, doubling the score and laying the platform for a remarkable assault from the hard-hitting No.5. The pair took their time at first, with just one boundary coming between the 10th and 15th over, with a drop of Miller in this period, when he had just 19, proving crucial. But a six off the last ball of Singh’s final over, smashed over deep midwicket by Miller, signalled a change in intent.
A pair of fours came in the next over before Mulder smashed six and four off consecutive Adair deliveries, and while he fell to the first ball of the 18th over, that only prompted Miller to take on the charge himself. On 37 when Mulder fell, he more than doubled his score in the next 2.5 overs, facing 12 balls for 38 runs in this stretch. The last over brought a stunning assault, with four sixes smashed as South Africa finished with a flourish.
Ireland struggled to get going in reply, Kevin O’Brien falling to the last ball of the first over, chipping back to bowler Bjorn Fortuin. A mammoth slog sweep from Paul Stirling gave the Irish fans some reason to cheer, taking him past Brendon McCullum into 10th in the all-time men’s T20I run-scorers charts, but the dismissal of Andrew Balbirnie tempered their joy, de Kock settling under a spiralling top edge.
Dockrell and Stirling briefly gave Ireland hope, with the former striking four and six off consecutive Mulder balls, the latter a spectacular, lunging lofted drive. But a spell of three wickets in three overs stymied the Irish charge. Stirling hit Tabraiz Shamsi, Player of the Match in the first game, to deep midwicket. Harry Tector got a leading edge off Aiden Markram to cover, where Fortuin took a good catch diving forward. And Dockrell handed Shamsi another, holing out to long-on, Markram taking a leaping catch to deny the all-rounder a maximum.
At the halfway stage, Ireland were 56-5, only two runs behind South Africa at the same stage, and with the same wickets lost. Shane Getkate threatened to play the David Miller role, racing to 24 off 17 as 30 runs were plundered off the next three overs, and striking two powerful sixes down the ground. But he slog-swept Shamsi to Bavuma at midwicket before a two-wicket over from Fortuin effectively decided the contest, Lorcan Tucker bowled and Singh stumped after coming down the track and inside-edging into his pad.
Craig Young fell for a duck before another combative last-wicket stand held South Africa up. Adair squeezed a wide yorker out to deep point for four, before a delicate glide from Little brought another boundary, but the partnership was in vain. It was Little’s wicket who brought the contest to an end, a slower-ball yorker from Lungi Ngidi beating a leg-side swipe and giving the Proteas a comfortable victory.