PERTH: Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said that had India successfully converted all their dropped catches and misses into wickets, things could have been different for the Men in Blue, who succumbed to a five-wicket loss to South Africa in their ICC T20 World Cup 2022 match in Perth on Sunday.
Brilliant half-centuries from Aiden Markram and David Miller helped South Africa overcome early hiccups and defeat India by five wickets in their Group 2, Super 12 match.
"If you take those catches, it is a different thing," ICC quoted Bhuvneshwar as saying in a media conference after the match.
"The catches we dropped, or the misses, I think that is 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 was not any particular moment where we can say that things shifted towards their side (South Africa)," he added.
Bhuvneshwar is indeed right. Catches do win matches and with every missed catch or run-out, India's chances of defeating South Africa were reduced despite having them trapped at 24/3 in their powerplay overs.
Yadav had missed a chance to run out Makram earlier and Rohit wasted a golden run-out opportunity as he failed to hit the target.
Perhaps the most disappointing miss came when Markram was on 35 and was dropped by Virat Kohli in the outfield. Kohli tried to juggle it back into his hands, but it fell on the ground. The cameras captured a shocked Ravichandran Ashwin, who could not believe that one of the finest fielders of the era had dropped a dolly.
The stand between Miller and Makram extended to 76 runs and by the time it was broken, Proteas were in the driver's seat at 100/4 in 15.4 overs. Markram was pretty grateful that he was so lucky against the Indians and said that there is a lot of cricket left before the semifinalists are decided.
"Sometimes you get the rub of the green, sometimes you do not," 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."
"We are certainly not thinking with a foot in the door at the moment, we have still got a massive game against Pakistan."
"And we have got Netherlands as well. We have seen the teams that have joined the Super 12 stage can beat any team on their day. So there is still a lot of cricket to be played for us. And it's pretty much about trying to get better game by game. We give ourselves the best chance to qualify if we do," Markram concluded.
With this win, South Africa is on the top of the table with five points and two wins in three matches. India is in the second position with four points and two wins in three.
India posted 133/9 in their 20 overs after electing to bat first.
Suryakumar Yadav (68) was India's only star in batting. Big names like KL Rahul (9), skipper Rohit Sharma (15) and Virat Kohli (12) fell flat against the South African pace attack.
Lungi Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers dismissing four Indian batters while giving away 29 runs, while Wayne Parnell bagged three wickets. Anrich Nortje also got a wicket.
Chasing 134, South Africa was reduced to 24/3 by Arshdeep Singh and Mohammad Shami.
Then a stand of 76 runs between David Miller (59*) and Aiden Markram (52) brought back South Africa into the game and it won the match by five wickets with two balls to spare.
Arshdeep Singh finished as the top bowler for India, taking 2/29. Pandya, Shami and Ashwin got a wicket each.
Brief Score: India: 133/9 (Suryakumar Yadav 68, Rohit Sharma 15; Lungi Ngidi 4/29) lost to South Africa: 137/5 in 19.4 overs (David Miller 59*, Aiden Markram 52, Arshdeep Singh 2/29).