T20 World Cup 2022: India VS South Africa: Three reasons Rohit Sharma's men lost the nail-biter in Perth
The T20 World Cup encounter between India and South Africa was always expected to be a thriller, and come the day of the match; it is safe to say that it lived up to expectations
However, the result was anything but ideal from the perspective of an Indian fan, as the team slumped to a shock five-wicket loss that suddenly placed some pressure on them.
Before this, India had won two out of their first two games and was on course to easily make it to the semi-finals.
They are still favourites to make it out – but they are also acutely aware that further slip-ups could lead to complications.
So how exactly did they end up losing? Here are the three main reasons the team could not get over the line despite being the favourites to win at one point.
Poor fielding – When analysing India's weaknesses in this tournament, the consensus was that their fielding was solid at the very least, if not spectacular. However, India had a shockingly poor day on the field against South Africa.
There were multiple run-out chances, two easy ones coming courtesy of skipper Rohit Sharma. To make matters worse, Virat Kohli would drop arguably the most straightforward chance of the game when he dropped a dolly at deep mid-wicket that would have gotten rid of Aiden Markram.
He would eventually go on to make a 50 – alongside David Miller – and thus take South Africa home in a very tight game.
Ashwin's forgettable spell – Many eyebrows were raised when Ravichandran Ashwin was picked as India's premier spinning option ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal. Ashwin is economical on his day but doesn't offer the wicket-taking threat that Chahal does.
However, when he doesn't contain the opposition, he tends to struggle – as was evidenced by the South Africa game. The batters looked to target Ashwin, meaning he was somewhat ironically the most expensive bowler on the night.
The worst of his spell came in his final over, when Miller hit him for two sixes to begin the over and essentially kill off the game in the 18th over itself. It capped a forgettable night for the veteran off-spinner.
Top order failure – Before the bowling lost India the game, it is worth noting that India's batting didn't exactly live up to their billing in the first innings. Barring Suryakumar Yadav, none of the Indian batters covered themselves in any glory.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya all failed, whereas Dinesh Karthik could not capitalise on getting a chance to bat earlier than usual. Given India's middle order is now seen as its most vital point, it was surprising to see the middle order fail the way it did.
It is also tempting to think how much better it would have been for SKY to have someone around who could build a partnership with him – it would have gotten India at least 15-20 runs extra, meaning the pressure would have been on the South Africans.