South Africa v India, 5th ODI, Centurion January 23, 2011

An effortless catch and some senseless running

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the fifth ODI between South Africa and India, in Centurion

The casual difficult catch
Yuvraj Singh's USP has been making big hitting look easy, but every now and then he brings that quality to the field too. Morne van Wyk saw that happen when he hit a drive pretty hard to the left of the bowler, Yuvraj himself. Casually, Yuvraj stuck his left hand out, casually he caught it, and casually he walked towards his team-mates.

The rain effect
Something seemed to have happened during the rain break at the end of the 42nd over of South Africa's innings that affected judgement all around. First of all, the match officials chose not to take lunch during that interruption, which lasted close to an hour, and instead took another half-hour break between innings. Had it rained later in the day, washing out the match, the wastage of time wouldn't have looked good.

Then, South Africa played some crazy shots after coming back, and ran mindlessly between the wickets, losing six wickets for 19. Neither of the blunders cost much: The minimum 20 overs of play in India's innings were completed, making it a match; and South Africa's bowlers were good enough to defend their score.

The run-outs
Tailenders can have brain freezes at times, but two of them having one in the space of three deliveries is a bit much. It was Dale Steyn first, in the 46th over, who missed an attempted big hit and set off for a single to try to get Hashim Amla on strike. MS Dhoni collected the ball, thought of throwing down the stumps, then saw Steyn didn't seem interested in coming back, and decided to run towards the stumps. Steyn then showed some desperation to get back in, and Dhoni flicked underarm to run him out. Two balls later, Morne Morkel did the same, and was run out in similar fashion.

The catch … or was it?
Parthiv Patel looked the most comfortable Indian batsman in the middle, but when he went for a cover drive off Morkel, Faf du Plessis cut his innings short. It was a low catch and he also had to go appreciably to his left. He did that with the reverse cup, and thus had to twist his hands considerably to make sure they remained under the ball. They did so when the ball arrived, but on impact it threatened to pop out, and he somehow got two fingers under the ball. However, the replays suggested the ball might have touched the ground. Full marks on the effort, but you couldn't have been sure about that one.

The reversal
When Yusuf Pathan reverse-swept Robin Peterson powerfully over point, Simon Taufel signalled four runs, and was ready for the next ball. Morne van Wyk, the fielder at sweeper-cover, however, made sure he signalled to the umpire that it was indeed a six. Replays were called in, and the right decision was made.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Coolest on January 24, 2011, 23:31 GMT

    @Nampally, you are absolutely correct. 1. If Dhoni was not happy with Murali Vijay, he should have called Abhinav Mukund who is the best left-hand opener in Indian domestic cricket today, along with Parthiv Patel who was SRT's replacement to open the innings. Instead, Dhoni chose to open with a make-shift opener Rohit Sharma, who already has been given way too many chances already. Secondly, Nehra should not have been dropped, this wicket was NOT suited for spinners. Dhoni used as many as 6 bowlers (4 of them were spinners) within the first 15 overs and got one wicket. Smith used only 3 (no spinners), and got 6 wickets. I know that SA have a much better bowling attack, but still you have to give your bowlers enough time to settle into their rhythm, which is most important thing for the bowlers. Dhoni is not a good captain, he is pure gambler, like one of those guys whose are siting in a casino in Las Vegas hoping to hit a jackpot.

  • Ashok on January 24, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    @Raks_Pats: Sir, you are barking up at the wrong tree. The Indian Selectors picked Vijay to replace injured Sehwag/Gambhir as the opener. So he was picked with full agreement of Dhoni, presumably. When Sachin got injured Parthiv was picked. So these are the 2 regular opener and must open not a make shift openers like Sharma who never opened at the international level. If you want to grumble about these 2 opener grumble at the selectors. Aneyway what dis Sharma do in 2 ODI's? 2 & 5 as repalcement for Vijay. I have never praised Vijay but pointed out the irrationality of Dhoni in omitting a regular opener which cost India the match If Dhoni is not happy with Vijay, he should have picked Dhawan, Karthik, Utappa or Mukund. But he did not and made a blunder in not playing vijay in 2 ODI; which India lost.

  • Steve on January 24, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    Great to know good sports persons do exist even today in the actions of Morne van Wyk. Sincerely hope he succeeds at the highest level for many yrs to come!.

  • Rakesh on January 24, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    @Nampally - Whats with you? Vijay a regular opener? He cant last for 10 overs. Stop prasing someone who has only played well in IPL.

  • Ashok on January 24, 2011, 14:13 GMT

    Sidharth, There were some plays of the day which had real impact on the results apart from the Catch of Parthiv. The third umpire erred. He should have given the benefit of doubt to the batsman, who was clearly NOT caught. Besides this Dhoni made tactical errors which impacted on result - 1. Dropping of regular opener Vijay in favour of Sharma. If India had played out the first 15 overs safely, India was capable of getting 270 required to win. Yuvraj particularly is vulnerable when he comes in within first 15 overs. In this instance Kohli & Dhoni failed bringing in Yuvraj. Secondly Indian lacked another wicket taker. Replacing Nehra with Ashwin would at least have resulted in a couple of wickets to him. Thirdly Dhoni inexplicably employed 6 bowlers in first 15 overs thereby not giving them any chance to settle. No wonder India failed. The major play of the day was Pathan's superlatively brilliant century & his partnership with Zaheer.Dhoni has many lessons to learn from this loss.

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