Auckland, March 22:
Ahead of their semi-final clash against co-hosts New Zealand, South Africa’s middle order batsman David Miller on Sunday said that they are just eight days away from clinching their maiden World Cup crown.
The Proteas are scheduled to play the co-hosts on Tuesday.
South Africa are high on confidence after winning their first ever knock-out match in their cricket World Cup history, beating Sri Lanka by nine wickets in a quarter-final on Wednesday.
“In eight days we could be world champions,” Miller was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
South Africa have never entered the title round of a World Cup.
They have been semi-finalists before, but only in tournaments without a preceding quarter-final round. They have already made history with their first ever win in a knockout match.
Playing his first World Cup, the hard-hitting batsman and a terrific fielder said, playing the semi-finals in such a big tournament is a dream come true for him.
“It means everything to me. It’s the first World Cup for me and it’s a dream come true. To play a semi-final is going to be out of this world. It’s actually a privilege to be in that position,” he said to the cricket-specific website.
The 25-year-old added that despite a lot of highs and lows, the side has worked hard and performed and that is why they are in the semi-finals.
“The guys have worked really hard in their careers with all their highs and lows and it comes down to a moment like this. A lot of people dream for a moment like this. We have the opportunity to actually be there,” the left-handed batsman said.
In previous tournaments, the pressure caused by pre-competitions expectations, Miller described, has been too much for South Africa. This time, they are finding a way to thrive on it.
“This team has a lot of fresh guys in the side – young guys who haven’t been to World Cups before, so we don’t have a lot of baggage behind us,” Miller said.
Miller sounded wary of New Zealand, who have been in imperious form in this tournament.
“Kiwis are really good with nipping the ball. I don’t think they give the opposition much in the first 10 overs. So, it’s about absorbing as much as we can and limiting the damage in the first 10 overs,” Miller said.
He also said he was practicing targeting the short and straight boundaries.
“Hopefully I can mishit a few straight sixes,” he humoured.
“It’s all coming down to the crunch moment now so soon there will be a lot more pressure put on this game. It’s just another game, as they say, which is obviously cliched but it’s about pulling in your emotions and doing the job,” Miller concluded. (IANS)