Day 14 Talking Points: Miller time and Buttler's big hits
Australia v England
Woakes keeps it simple
At the start of the year, Chris Woakes wasn't in contention for a place in England's T20I side. In fact, before June this year, he last wore the England shirt in this format back in 2015.
In this World Cup, though, not only is he a regular in the XI, but he's also been key to England being so successful in the Powerplay. Against Australia, he bowled three overs in the first six. And he had the incredible figures of 2/7, with 13 dot balls.
His greatest asset has been his accuracy and the simplicity of his plans. Bowling what would be called 'Test-match lengths', he simply targets the top of off stump with nagging consistency, while also getting some movement.
On the slightly grassy surface for this game, he was especially effective. David Warner edged to the keeper, while Glenn Maxwell too failed to read the seam movement and was trapped in front.
In the middle of these two wickets, Woakes also took an excellent one-handed catch, putting England firmly on top.
Buttler's Powerplay power
England posted 66/0 in their first six overs, which is the highest Powerplay total of the tournament so far.
Jos Buttler was the more aggressive one of the opening pair. He got going with a pulled four off Mitchell Starc in the first over, and then took it up a notch against the same bowler in the last over under fielding restrictions.
With his base steady, he swung hard for two massive sixes that sailed into the stands past long-on.
He brought up a 25-run fifty – fittingly dancing down for the pitch to send the ball sailing down the ground for a six that was recorded at an incredible 102m.
South Africa v Sri Lanka
Nissanka's one-man show
Ahead of Sri Lanka's previous game against Australia, head coach Mickey Arthur heaped praise on Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka, touting them as the future of the team's batting.
“I’ve watched every cricketer now in Sri Lanka, but I don’t see batting talent like Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka,” Arthur said.
"I’ve always said since the first time I saw Pathum that he’s a wonderful talent. His balance, his feet movement, when he attacks and defends are great. He’s got it all. We saw that on Test debut. He’s played every form now over the last sort of nine months for us. He’s going to play every form, because I think him and Charith are generation next for Sri Lanka in terms of batting.”
While Asanlanka gave everybody a glimpse of what he is capable of against Australia, it was Nissanka's turn to shine against South Africa.
On a day when the rest of his team struggled, with only two others hitting double digits, Nissanka found a way to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Though he found it difficult to tee off in the first 10 overs, going at just over a run a ball for his 32, which included a six and a four, he made up in the second half of the innings despite wickets tumbling at the other end.
He brought up his second half-century of the T20 World Cup before smashing Kagiso Rabada for two fours and six in the 18th over. Eventually, Nissanka finished on 72 off 58, scoring more than 50% of Sri Lanka's total.
Hat-trick hero Hasaranga
Having made his T20I debut in just 2019, Wanindu Hasaranga has quickly become Dasun Shanaka's go-to man in the shortest format.
Against South Africa too, he was tasked with the responsibility of bowling the 18th over of the innings when the Proteas needed 31 from 18.
Bowling the difficult over, he not only kept it to just six runs but also completed a memorable hat-trick.
Having dismissed Aiden Markram with a wonderful googly in the last ball of his previous spell, Hasaranga snared the wickets of Temba Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius off consecutive balls to complete the second hat-trick of this year's World Cup. Both batters looked to clear the short boundaries at Sharjah but holed out in the deep.
Hasaranga left 25 runs for Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera to defend and put Sri Lanka in a solid position going into the last two overs
Miller, Rabada clinch it for South Africa
South Africa needed 25 off the last two overs and it was up to David Miller, who had to go off the park while fielding with a niggle, and Rabada to pull off a miracle.
With Miller failing to clear the boundary in two attempts against Chameera, Rabada, a handy batter in his own right, punished the pacer for missing his length slightly, smoking him over long-off.
Needing 15 off the last, Kumara made the mistake of bowling full to Miller and the southpaw made him pay by smacking two sixes out of the stadium. With the scores level, Rabada finished the game off with a four, albeit off a lucky outside edge, to win it for South Africa.
At the end, it was the 34-run stand between Miller and Rabada that came off just 16 balls that proved to be the difference between the two sides.