LONDON, 7 JUNE: South Africa’s fast bowling department today got depleted when Morne Morkel was ruled out of the entire Champions Trophy tournament owing to an injury he had suffered yesterday. The lanky paceman sustained it in the team’s game against India, bowling 6.5 overs and giving away 27 runs without taking a wicket.
He has suffered a Grade 1 injury on the left quad and will need no fewer than three weeks to regain his fitness. South Africa missed pace spearhead Dale Steyn – coping with a side strain – in their match against India. Cricket South Africa will soon name a replacement. South African skipper A B de Villiers blamed “unforced errors” and “miscommunication in the heat of the battle” for the 26-run loss to India in the Champions Trophy in Cardiff yesterday.De Villiers said losing Morkel in the 34th over had also been quite a “shock” because he was the kingpin of his team’s seam attack.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan bludgeoned his way to a maiden One-Day Internationals century as a rejuvenated India started their campaign with a comfortable victory. “But I still feel our boys fought back well to restrict India (to 331)… it could well have been 370,” he told reporters in a post-match chat. Talking about the “unforced errors” and “miscommunication,” De Villiers recalled the silly run-outs of key batsmen like Robin Peterson and David Miller. Peterson’s exit at the team score of 155 for three proved a turning point. “The run-outs proved costly but you can’t do much about them. When the players are trying to do their best and your heart is pumping, the heat of the battle forces you into errors,” De Villiers explained. “We have to win our next two matches because, in a short tournament, there is no margin for errors. We come here to win all games and we will take a lot of positives from the defeat against India,” De Villiers said.
But the skipper’s plans may take a hit because Dale Steyn is still doubtful for South Africa’s next game against Pakistan in Birmingham.“We will assess the situation every day and then hope for the best, but missing both Steyn and Morkel will be a massive blow,” De Villiers said.In another development, Shikhar Dhawan ascribed his success to patience, conceding that adapting to the conditions at Swalec Stadium here had been "quite a job." Dhawan slammed a brilliant 114 that helped India score an imposing 331 for seven against South Africa in the tournament’s opening match. “I am happy with the knock I played but I’m happier because we won a game that was actually getting quite close,” he told reporters. When the team left the Indian shores, it was almost certain that the left-handed Dhawan would open the batting with Murali Vijay.
But yesterday’s decisive 127-run opening stand means Dhawan’s partner for the rest of the group matches will be Rohit Sharma, who scored a polished 65.
“It was nice to play with Rohit. He is such a pleasure to watch and really runs the singles very well. We adjusted to the conditions very well and once we settled down, the runs started coming. It was quite a job,” Dhawan said.
Dhawan said the absence of Dale Steyn had not made the South African attack any weaker. “(Morne) Morkel and Ryan McLaren are well-known names in the world of fast bowling. So, we knew they would attack us from the start. But we took our time to settle down and then scored off their pace,” Dhawan said, adding: “I quite enjoy taking pressure but it was more about waiting for the loose ball.
‘Dhawan is the future’
Paying rich tribute to Shikhar Dhawan for his maiden One-Day International century against South Africa, former India skipper Kapil Dev said the Delhi left-hander was the future of Indian cricket in New Delhi today.