South Africa 224/4
Bangladesh 141 all out
South Africa won by 83 runs
POTCHEFSTROOM – By the time he’d faced 14 balls, David Miller had been dropped, hit a ‘skyer’ that was missed by Bangladesh in the outfield and had the ball go off the inside edge of his bat and miss the leg-stump by two centimetres.
He’d scored 18 runs at that stage.
Off the 15th ball he faced, he smashed Mahmudullah straight back over his head for six. What followed was mesmerising.
“The first 20 balls were scratchy to be honest, but towards the back end it came out pretty sweet,” Miller said.
Pretty sweet? It was caramel, loaded on top of chocolate with a dash of honey, downed with a litre of Coca-Cola.
Perhaps his start had focused Miller’s senses. South Africa weren’t in trouble when he got to the crease – the side lost three wickets inside the first 10 overs, including AB de Villiers for 20 – but was grateful for the steady, though still aggressive, start provided by Hashim Amla.
His innings of 85 came off 51 balls and included 11 fours and a six, and was dotted with some delightful strokeplay.
But even that very fine innings paled into obscurity, once Miller had finished his work.
Amla was dismissed halfway through the 17th over, at which point Miller was on 42. The ball following Amla’s dismissal was clouted through the covers for four.
His next 55 runs came off 15 balls, the highlight of which was the 19th over bowled by Mohammad Saifuddin.
The first of the five consecutive sixes Miller struck in that over flew beyond the midwicket and cover boundaries, the next two were devilishly arrogant flicks over square leg and the fifth a pull in the same direction off a short ball.
Saifuddin may have become frazzled midway through his over, but he deserves some credit for showing composure at the end of it, finally landing a full delivery, this one wide of the of the off-stump that Miller could only drive to long-off for a single.
The disappointment was writ large as he let out a groan while his face was etched in anguish at a unique opportunity missed.
“I got to the fourth one and thought that ‘I might as well go here,’ the fifth came out nicely and looking back, I could have hit six out of six... but that’s one of those things, it was still enjoyable,” said Miller.
But having gotten to 88, the next chance to put his name in the record books was one he wouldn’t miss, and he registered his 100 off just 35 balls, comfortably the fastest in the sport’s most abbreviated format.
“It was really special, it’s good to have that behind your name,” Miller said afterwards.
Richard Levi had taken 45 balls when he became the first South African T20 centurion against New Zealand in Hamilton five years ago.
Miller, who finished not out on 101 is the third South African to score a century in a T20 International, joining Levi and Faf du Plessis. He smashed seven fours and nine sixes.
The Proteas’ total was their fourth highest ever in the format.
Bangladesh ended their tour without a win, and in fact copped some severe beatings in the last five weeks.
The series gave new Proteas coach Ottis Gibson the chance to assess a number of players ahead of a busy season, and as part of his build-up towards the 2019 World Cup.
“We’ll take a lot out of this,” said stand-in captain JP Duminy.
“The way the top six have played, the way we came back in terms of our ‘death’ bowling, where we executed very well…
“Those are positives we can take away, but we know there’s a lot we still need to do if we want to beat the best teams in the world.”