In most cricket matches, a Man of the Match award is given mostly for a best batting performance or a best bowling performance or for a total all-round show. However, there are few instances when a fielding performance wins the Man of the Match award. In the first Twenty20 International between South Africa and Pakistan in Cape Town on Friday, no batsmen or bowler was awarded the Man of the Match. Rather, it was the fielding efforts of David Miller, who took four catches and effected two run-outs who was named the Man of the Match as South Africa defeated Pakistan by six runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Miller was sensational in the field and he turned the momentum in South Africa’s favour as he ran-out the in-form Babar Azam for 38 off 27 balls with a direct hit from short mid-wicket. In the outfield, Miller was sensational as he took the catches of Asif Ali (13) at deep midwicket and Imad Wasim (4) at long on. Pakistan’s batsmen tried to break free with some attacking strokes but they could not get past Miller. Mohammad Rizwan (2) was run-out thanks to Miller’s direct hit from deep midwicket and the match was sealed in South Africa’s favour when he got rid of Shoaib Malik (49) and caught Hasan Ali (11) at long on.
The left-handed Miller created a new South Africa record for the most catches in a Twenty20 International. His tally of four catches made him the seventh player to achieve this feat. West Indies’ Darren Sammy, Netherlands’ Peter Borren, New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal, India’s Ajinkya Rahane and Hong Kong’s Babar Hayat are the other players to have taken four catches. Sammy and Miller are the only players to have taken four catches during an opposition chase.
The loss snapped Pakistan’s world record sequence of 11 consecutive Twenty20 Internationals and it continues their miserable tour of Pakistan, where they have lost both the Tests and ODIs. The next match is in Johannesburg on February 3 and a loss for Pakistan will be their first series loss in this format after 11 series, which is the most by any side.
The Cape Town match witnessed a good match with Reeza Hendricks (74) and skipper Faf du Plessis (78) boosting the Proteas to 192/6. Solid knocks from Azam (39), Husain Talat (40) and Malik (49) kept Pakistan in the hunt but they kept losing wickets at regular intervals to lose the match.