Miller backs AB to come good against India

AB de Villiers (AP)
AB de Villiers (AP)

Birmingham - AB de Villiers is "due" a big score against Champions Trophy title-holders India according to fellow South Africa batsman David Miller after the Proteas' skipper suffered the first golden duck of his one-day international career.

De Villiers's maiden first-ball exit in 212 ODI innings came during South Africa's shock 19-run loss to Pakistan at Edgbaston on Wednesday -- a result that threw Group B wide open.

Only the top two sides in each of the two pools will go through to the semi-finals of a tournament featuring the world's top eight 50-over nations.

That makes Sunday's clash with India at the Oval potentially pivotal to a South Africa side who beat Sri Lanka in their group opener.

Miller's unbeaten 75 was the batting highlight of a below par total of 219 for eight against Pakistan, an innings where de Villiers sliced left-arm spinner Imad Wasim to backward point.

Star batsman de Villiers, also nursing a hamstring problem, has now managed just four runs this tournament.

But Miller is confident this is just a blip for the usually prolific 33-year-old right-hander.

"He's the best player in the world so it's nice when he does perform 95 percent of the time," Miller told reporters at Edgbaston after Wednesday's surprise day/night reverse.

"But I haven't seen him go out for nought too many times in his career. He's human.

"There's enough good batsmen in the team to contribute at the same time. I don't think it's really a huge problem at all," Miller added.

"We've done well over the last two, two-and-a-half years as a top six. All the batsmen we have can do a job.

"AB didn't come off but he's definitely due (a big score) on Sunday."

With de Villiers, for so long a key figure in all three international formats, opting out of Test cricket for the rest of the year because of the strain of his workload, questions have been raised about the course of his career.

But Morne Morkel, a longstanding South Africa team-mate, said there was no doubting de Villiers's desire to win a major limited-overs trophy with the Proteas.

"It's a big tournament for him as well," said Morkel. "For all of us.

"We are hungry to take this trophy back home. It's the first-ball duck in 200 games. He is only human.

"Us as players or team-mates, we need to stand up as well and take responsibility. It's not all on AB's shoulders.

"That's just the truth of it," added the fast bowler, whose impressive haul of three for 18 on Wednesday could no prevent Pakistan winning a rain-marred match on the Duckworth/Lewis method.

"AB has got all the energy and is still hungry to play," insisted Morkel.

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