After surviving a scare in their opening World Cup outing against Zimbabwe, South Africa suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of team India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. The Proteas, who never lost to the Men in Blue in the WC, were outclassed in every department and are now ranked fifth in the points table of Pool B.
Given the kind of team and its performances in the recent past, South Africa are considered to be the favourites in the Cricket World Cup 2015, but a shaky start in the very first game against minnows Zimbabwe and shocking defeat against India has exposed the side's game plan.('Fixing' claims proved wrong)
Here are a few reasons why South Africa lost to India:
The prime reason for South Africa's loss was due to the team's poor strategy. Skipper AB deVilliers looked short of ideas after things didn't fell in place as planned he looked confused. The skipper stuck to just one plan from the start and had no 'Plan B' after its front line bowlers didn't get them early breakthroughs.
The team looked clueless when the pitch did not offered swing support to the bowlers. South Africa never attacked Indian batters while bowling nor batters went after Indian bowlers to ease the pressure off their shoulders.
Barring first ten overs of SA bowling and the partnership between deVilliers and DuPlesis South Africans never dominated their Indian counterparts.
Silent Dale 'Steyn-Gun':
Pacer Dale Steyn, who is also called as "Steyn Gun", has been the backbone of SA bowling attack unfortunately he was out of form in the match against India. As he was not getting enough support from the pitch the bowler started struggling.
Philander's hamstring injury:
The "Steyn Gun" was already not firing and Vernon Philander's hamstring injury added up to skipper deVilliers' woes as it made the pace attack lose its edge. Philander in his 4 over spell was economical against Indian batters but once he went back to the pavilion no other bowler offered trouble with the ball to the Indians.
Preferring 'part-timer' Duminy over main bowlers as first change
Everyone was shocked when AB deVilliers handed over the ball to part-time spinner JP Duminy in the eighth over. This showed skipper's desperation to break the partnership between well set Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli. But, the move sent a negative signal as the skipper preferred a part timer over his front line bowlers like Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.
When Duminy failed to provide the much needed breakthrough the skipper was forced to introduce his main bowlers. But, by then the damage was already being done as Duminy's spell only helped Indian batters to rotate strike and spend some more time on the crease.
This was one department in which South Africa was completely outclassed by the Indians as no batter offered much resistance to the Indian bowlers. The pressure mounted by Indian pacers and spinners on Proteas forced them to take risks which cost them their wickets. It was only the partnership between AB deVilliers and Faf DuPlesis which gave Indian bowlers a run for their money.
But as soon as this crucial 68-run partnership was broken by a fantastic work in the deep by Mohit Sharma, which resulted in dangerous looking deVilliers' run out, India never looked back and kept mounting the pressure till the end.
Lack of a genuine all rounder like Jacques Kallis:
If someone Proteas missed badly at the MCG, it was their batting all rounder like Jacques Kallis. The South African squad is for the first time short of a genuine batting all rounder who can hit some big sixes and boundaries to ease the pressure off batting or break crucial partnerships whenever his side needed. The side badly missed its most experienced match winner against India who's retired from world cricket.