T20 World Cup: Misbah surprised by Ashwin's mistakes in India's loss to South Africa

The experienced spinner conceded 38 runs in his last three overs as South Africa beat India, pushing Pakistan to the brink of elimination


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Mon 31 Oct 2022, 9:32 AM

Last updated: Mon 31 Oct 2022, 9:58 AM

For a long time, the pace bowlers kept India in the hunt against South Africa despite their batsmen putting up a low score of 133 for nine in the ICC T20 World Cup match in Perth on Sunday.

Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and even Hardik Pandya troubled the South African batsmen with their swing and bounce, reducing them to 35 for three after nine overs.

But the game changed decisively in South Africa's favour after captain Rohit Sharma brought senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin into the attack in the 10th over of the innings.

The veteran spinner was effective in his first over, giving away only five runs.

But he conceded 38 runs in his next three overs as David Miller (59 not out off 46 balls) and Aiden Markram (52 off 41 balls) earned South Africa a precious five-wicket victory with their fantastic partnership.

South Africa's win also pushed Pakistan to the brink of elimination in Group 2.

In order to reach the semifinals, Babar Azam's team, which beat the Netherlands for their first win on Sunday, will need to win their remaining two matches and hope other results go their way.

Tactical blunders

The Proteas were also helped by some poor catching and ground fielding from the Indians.

But it was Ashwin's inability to contain the flow of runs that completely put South Africa in the commanding position.

Former Pakistan captain Misbah Ul Haq said he was surprised by the tactical mistakes an experienced bowler like Ashwin made in the match.

"I think his biggest mistake was that he a bowled a lot fuller to Miller, who made room and hit him for straight sixes. He bowled full despite the fact that the straighter boundaries in Perth were shorter," Misbah said on ASports during a post-match discussion with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Malik.

"When he bowled short of length to Markram, there was the opportunity for a catch (which Virat Kohli missed in the deep). I mean to see such mistakes from such an experienced bowler at a crucial time was a bit surprising."

But Waqar Younis was sympathetic towards Ashwin.

"It's very difficult for a spinner to bowl in such conditions. Also, don't forget the straighter boundaries are shorter. So the batsmen always wait for the spinners to come because they love to target them. So it's very difficult for a spinner to survive in such conditions," the legendary Pakistan fast bowler said.

Barring the three half-centuries from Suryakumar Yadav (68 off 40 balls), Markram and Miller, the ball dominated the bat on the fast and bouncy wicket in Perth on Sunday.

And Waqar felt South Africa would have been in big trouble if India had scored 10-15 runs more on that fast track.

"I think if India scored 10-15 runs more, it would have been very difficult for South Africa because the fast bowlers were getting great bounce from the surface. Plus the ball was swinging as well. As you know the Indians can swing the ball really well. So India just fell short by 10-15 runs," said Waqar.


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