Cardiff: South African skipper A B De Villiers said losing Morne Morkel in the 34th over of the Champions Trophy opener against India due to a strain in the left leg was a "shock" because he was the lynchpin of his team`s seam attack.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan bludgeoned his way to a maiden ODI century as a rejuvenated India kicked off their campaign with a comfortable 26-run victory here today.
"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.
De Villiers put the loss down to "unforced errors" and "miscommunication in the heat of the battle".
South Africa lost key batsmen like Robin Peterson and David Miller to silly run outs. Peterson`s exit at the team score of 155 for three proved to be a turning point.
"The run outs proved to be 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 makes you make errors," De Villiers explained.
"We have to win our next two matches because in a short tournament, there are 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.
Today evening, Morkel was rushed to a doctor for scans in his left quadriceps.
He may take a maximum of seven days to recover, according to the South African team doctor.