Cape Town: South Africa captain Graeme Smith on Tuesday said that Yusuf Pathan's breezy innings ruined the day for his side in the third cricket one-dayer against India here.
Pathan proved to be the difference between the two sides as he took his chances and hammered the South African bowlers, especially the spinners, to all parts of the ground en route to his 50-ball 59-run knock on a two-paced Newlands track.
Chasing 221 for win, Pathan teamed up with Suresh Raina (37 off 47) to bring India back in contention with less than a run-a-ball 75-run sixth wicket stand after the visitors were reeling at 93 for five at one stage.
"It was very disappointing to end up on the losing side. We were probably 20 runs short but Pathan's knock made the difference today," Smith said after his side two-wicket loss.
"It was a two-paced wicket. It was not the best of ODI wickets. All batters struggled here except for Pathan. He looked it was easy to bat on here," he said.
He also lauded Morne Morkel (3/28) for his lion-hearted performance.
"As usual Morkel was incredible for us. But we need towork on our batting in powerplay. We need to regroup and better our performance in the next match," Smith added.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni too lauded Pathan and said he is happy as long as the hard-hitter plays his natural game.
"It was good effort from the batsmen. The lower middle-order also played well. But Pathan was superb.
"He played his natural game. I want him to continue playing the kind of cricket he plays," Dhoni said.
Dhoni also lauded his death bowlers for their superb show during the fag end of the South African innings.
"The best thing today was our powerplay and death bowling," the Indian skipper said.
Man-of-the-match Pathan said he was just playing his natural game on today.
"It's a good win for us. I was just looking to hit the balls which were in my areas," he said.