‘If you take those catches, it’s a different thing’ – India rue Kohli, Rohit fielding errors. catches win matches, and India’s failure to take their chances in the field saw a win slip through their grasp against South Africa in Perth.
South Africa were hobbling along in their chase of just 134 to win against India, limping to just 40/3 at the midway point of the innings after wickets tumbled early.
So breaking the partnership between Aiden Markram and David Miller was key to India’s chances, and eventually they did, with Suryakumar Yadav taking a catch in the deep to remove Markram for 52.
But by then much of the damage had been done, with the key partnership having added 60 runs in the previous 5.4 overs, putting South Africa in the driving seat in a game that still went down to the final over.
And things could have been so different.
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Yadav missed a chance to run Markram out early in his innings, and Rohit Sharma failed to hit all three stumps with an even better run-out opportunity later in the partnership with Miller nowhere near making his ground.
But the most eye-catching and arguably most disappointing missed opportunity came when Markram, on 35 at the time, skied Ravi Ashwin to Virat Kohli.
No outfield catches at international level are easy. But this was a very presentable chance, one Kohli would expect to take. Yet out it popped, hitting the turf via a spot of juggling to give Markram a match-defining reprieve.
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Ashwin’s expression said it all. And while it’s hard to put a match result down to just fielding slip-ups, it is undeniable that South Africa’s chase would have been far harder had they lost one of their two set batters during those crucial middle overs.
“If you take those catches, it’s a different thing,” India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar told reporters in his media conference after the match.
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“The catches we dropped, or the misses, I think that’s where, not the moment specifically, but we knew if we could have got those it changes things, things could have been different.
“But I don’t think there wasn’t any particular moment where we can say that things shifted towards their side.”
For Markram, he was grateful for a slice of luck that helped his side move top of Group 2 and into pole position to qualify for the semi-finals.
“Sometimes you get the rub of the green, sometimes you don’t,” the South African said. “At the end of the day you have to be grateful when you do get a bit of luck in the game.