Pakistan's fielding has been their weakest link but even by their abysmal international standards, Wednesday was the nadir. If a team gives a batsman like Sachin Tendulkar a second chance by dropping a catch, it is bad enough. But what happens when a team gives him four lives?
The match is obviously won and lost there and then and that is why the decisive turning point has to be the number of times Tendulkar was dropped. The great man was not really at his best and his timing was awry though in the midst of all this he brought off some sublime strokes. Yet the story of his innings of 85 has to revolve around those muffed catches.
First Misbah-ul-Haq dropped him off Shahid Afridi at mid-wicket when he was on 27. This was shortly after Virender Sehwag had been dismissed and so Tendulkar's departure would have shifted the momentum to Pakistan. A little later Younis Khan missed a relatively easy catch at mid-off again of the luckless Pakistan captain.
Image: India's Sachin Tendulkar poses with his Man of the Match award after their win over Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup semifinal match between Pakistan and India in Mohali, India, Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
Text: Partab Ramchand
Full Coverage: World Cup 2011