Captain Rohit Sharma felt India were “not good enough” in their fielding after the defeat to South Africa in Perth on Sunday.
“We were not good enough on the field. We have played in such conditions, so conditions are not an excuse. We want to be consistent in that department. We could not hold on to our chances, we misses a few run-outs, including myself,” Rohit rued at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Virat Kohli dropped a dolly of Markram at deep mid-wicket off Ravichandran Ashwin when the batter was on 35. Markram went on to score 52 off 41 balls and added 76 crucial runs for the fourth wicket with David Miller (59 not out) as South Africa chased a target of 134 with two balls to spare.
Rohit’s views were echoed by senior bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar during the media conference later.
“Yes, if you had taken those catches, it would have been different. Catches win matches and those chances, if taken could have made the difference,” Bhuvneshwar said.
Bhuvneshwar, however, did not agree that the momentum of the match shifted when Kohli dropped that catch.
“Not really, the catch we dropped and run out chances that we missed, I won’t say momentum shifted but it would have been different. But I won’t pinpoint any particular moment as such,” the seamer said, trying to steer clear of blaming Kohli directly.
Rohit accepted that South Africa batted well on a tricky pitch to take the game away from India.
“We expected the pitch to have something in it, with the weather around. We knew there will be help for the seamers. Which is why you saw that 130 was not an easy chase. I thought we fought well till the end but South Africa played well. The pitch was such that a wicket could come any time for the seamers.
“It was a match-winning partnership from Miller and Markram,” Rohit said.
Bhuvneshwar too thought that the wicket was difficult for the batters. He was sympathetic with the Indian top-order which struggled to cope with extra pace, bounce and movement.
“When it comes to batting, we all know it was a difficult wicket to bat on. If you look at the tournament so far, the par score has been around 140and so. We believed that we can make a match of it.”
Bhuvneshwar defended skipper Rohit’s decision to give Ashwin the 18th over (his fourth) after going for 17 runs in the 14th over. The only other option Rohit had was Deepak Hooda.
“Generally, the thought is that if a spinner could keep things tight, it would have been difficult for the batters in the end while facing the pacers. Had we got a wicket, things could have changed,” he rued.
On the same matter, Rohit’s explanation was: “I have seen what happened at the last with the spinners. So I wanted to finish with Ashwin before the last over. I wanted to see that the seamers bowl the right overs.”
■ Best strike rate (30 or more runs): 170 Suryakumar Yadav (Ind)
■ Most fours: 6 Suryakumar Yadav (Ind); Aiden Markram (SA)
■ Most sixes: 3 Suryakumar Yadav (Ind); David Miller (SA)
■ Best partnership: 76 David Miller/Aiden Markram (SA)
■ Most dot balls: 16 Wayne Parnell (SA)
■ Most fours conceded: 4 Arshdeep Singh (Ind)
■ Most sixes conceded: 4 Ravichandran Ashwin (Ind)
■ Man of the Match: 4/29 off 4 overs Lungi Ngidi (SA)