A strong mind is the key for Miller

The last over dramas, the mad run chases and the mounting pressure — it seems Twenty20 is all about good finishing. One may not necessarily play a big innings, but a sudden burst at the end can sometimes differentiate winners from losers.

Kings XI Punjab’s David Miller seems to be turning into that sort of player for his team. The young South African has played only five of his team’s nine matches but has proved to be a match-winner on more than one occasion.

The middle- order batsman believes it’s all in the mind in crunch situations.

“It’s more of a mental preparation. In a 20- over game even a knock of 30 matters a lot, depending on the situation you are in.” Miller told MAIL TODAY . Miller showed just why he has been hailed as a bright prospect when he scored a blistering 80 off 41 balls, chasing 186 against Pune Warriors. More importantly with 16 needed off the last over, Miller hit two towering sixes off Luke Wright to seal the match.

In the very next game against Delhi Daredevils, Miller stayed unbeaten to see his team through.

The South African, though, could not see the team through against Mumbai Indians despite scoring a 56 off just 34 balls.

The left-hander is, however, not experiencing the weight of expectation for the first time. In his first international match, a T20 against the West Indies, he was the top-scorer for South Africa in a onerun victory.

“It’s not easy to keep your composure, especially, when the target is high. Also, IPL is a long tournament with its share of stress, so sometimes the mental aspect of the game becomes more important than the physical one,” Miller said.

He is also taking his experience in the IPL as a part of his learning process.

“The conditions are so different here. I am not used to it, so I have to be extra careful while playing as I know our team has other talented players too. And if I don’t do well, I won’t be considered for the next match,” he said.

Miller adds that with all the top bowlers in the world plying their trade in the IPL, it’s better for youngsters not to concentrate on who they are facing.
“I don’t take my stance thinking about the bowler who I am going to face but just look at the ball. It works, at least for me,” he said.

Talking of his cricketing idol, the South African opts for an Australian great. “ I like Matthew Hayden a lot. When I see his videos I learn a lot. His technique was sound and he was intimidating too,” Miller said.

Coming back to his team’s performance, Miller feels they have a good chance of reaching the playoffs. “ A lot of matches are left. So, even though we are in the bottom half of the table, we are confident.

All teams face ups and downs but the important thing is not to lose hope,” he said. “ I feel lucky to be sharing the dressing room with the likes of Adam Gilchrist and David Hussey. Hopefully, we will do well in the next matches.”

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