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Miller rescues South Africa in T20 victory over Netherlands

David Miller of <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/south-africa-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:South Africa;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">South Africa</a> celebrates after his unbeaten 59 steered the Proteas to victory over the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/netherlands-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Netherlands;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Netherlands</a> in the T20 World Cup on Saturday (ROBERT CIANFLONE)

South Africa overcame a stunning early batting collapse before sealing a four-wicket victory over bogey team the Netherlands in their T20 World Cup Group D clash in New York on Saturday.

David Miller's unbeaten 59 off 51 balls saw the Proteas safely home at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, the South Africans finishing on 106-6 after restricting the Dutch to 103-9 from their 20 overs.

For a moment however it looked as if the Dutch were poised to inflict another famous upset on the South Africans following wins at the 2022 T20 World Cup and 2023 ODI World Cup.

The Proteas were left reeling at 12-4 after 4.3 overs and had even been 3-3 at one stage as the Dutch bowling attack broke through early.

But Tristan Stubbs and Miller hauled South Africa off the ropes with a fifth wicket partnership of 65 to leave the Proteas in a winning position.

While Stubbs eventually fell for 33, Miller saw South Africa home with a half century that included three fours and four sixes -- including a six off Bas de Leede in the 19th over to seal victory.

"It was just a good finish in the end," a relieved Miller said afterwards. "Credit to the Netherlands bowlers - they bowled really well.

"They made it difficult for us to score. But we have got over the line with our tailenders, so I have faith."

- 'Mental blockade' -

Proteas captain Aiden Markram said his team had overcome a psychological hurdle with the victory over the Dutch after their previous high-profile losses.

"We knew they were always going to up for a scrap," Markram said. "It's a game of cricket ultimately. The history before this game was obviously they beat us. It's a mental blockade -- and we were under pressure again today."

Earlier, Ottniel Baartman's dazzling four-wicket haul helped South Africa hold the Netherlands to a modest 103-9.

Baartman finished with figures of 4-11 off four overs, with Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje both grabbing two wickets to keep the Dutch batsmen on the back foot.

Jansen had the Netherlands rocking in the opening over, getting rid of Michael Levitt caught behind for a duck after a review.

Jansen was involved again for South Africa's second dismissal, taking a superb one-handed diving catch at first slip after Max O'Dowd edged behind off Baartman.

That left the Netherlands reeling on 15-2 after four overs. They were three down in the following over as Jansen bagged his second wicket, obliterating Vikramjist Singh's stumps to make it 17-3.

De Leede was the next to fall, caught off Nortje for six runs from a delivery which rocketed up off the wicket.

It got worse for the Netherlands in the 12th over.

First Edwards was run out for 10 after a superb piece of fielding by South Africa skipper Aiden Markram.

Then Nortje bagged another wicket three balls later after Teja Nidamanuru's leading edge flew all the way to deep third man into the hands of Heinrich Klaasen to make it 48-6.

Sybrand Engelbrecht and Logan van Beek staged a fleeting fightback before falling to Baartman for 40 and 23 respectively as South Africa's bowlers reasserted themselves in the final overs.

rcw/pb