David Miller walked in at 24/4 and smashed a memorable century despite all odds.© AFP
South African middle-order batter David Miller made history on Thursday, smashing the first-ever century by a Proteas batter in an ICC Cricket World Cup knockout match. Miller accomplished this milestone during the semifinal match of the ICC Cricket World Cup against Australia at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. Miller walked in at 24/4 and smashed a memorable century despite all odds. He scored 101 runs in 116 balls. His knock consisted of eight fours and five sixes. His runs came at a strike rate of over 87.
This has overtaken Faf Du Plessis’s 82-run knock against New Zealand in the 2015 Cricket World Cup semifinal as the best score by a South African in WC knockouts.
Miller’s century is also only the third century by a South African in an ICC event knockout match. Earlier, Herschelle Gibbs had made 116* against India in the semifinal of the ICC Champions Trophy 2002. Jacques Kallis also made 113* against Sri Lanka in the semifinal of the 1998 Champions Trophy.
Miller has also overtaken Kallis to become Proteas’ second-highest six-hitter in ODI cricket, with 138 sixes. Kallis had hit 137 sixes in his ODI career. The highest ODI sixes by a South African batter are by AB de Villiers, who has 200 sixes in the 50-over format.
Besides Glenn Maxwell (three centuries), Miller is the only batter who comes at number five or below to have two or more World Cup tons. Miller has scored two centuries in his World Cup career.
In 10 matches of this World Cup, Miller has scored 356 runs at an average of 44.50. He has ended unbeaten twice. Miller has scored a century and a fifty in the tournament, with the best score of 101 and a strike rate of over 107.
Coming to the match, Proteas opted to bat first. After being reduced to 24/4, a 95-run partnership between Heinrich Klaasen (47 in 48 balls, with four boundaries and two sixes) and Miller helped Proteas recover. A half-century between Miller and Gerald Coetzee (19) was also vital in taking Proteas near the 200-run mark. SA was bundled out for 212 in 49.4 overs.
Mitchell Starc (3/34) and skipper Pat Cummins (3/51) were the top wicket-takers for Australia. Josh Hazlewood (2/12) and Travis Head (2/21) also bowled well for Aussies.
Aussies need 213 to reach the final, where they will play India.
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