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Yuvraj scripts an Indo-Pak Final at Jo’burg!

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It’s going to be an Indo-Pak Final at Jo’burg in this exciting inaugural Twenty20 World Championship with both teams winning their respective semi-finalists. India have made this possible with a sensational performance against the Cricket World’s Power House – Australia. Fire was met with fire and the bull was taken by its horn as far as the Indians were concerned. Yuvraj Singh made all the difference by first managing to play this match and then taking 30 balls to smash score an unbelievable 70. Aussies looked comfortable in their chase of 189 until they lost a few important wickets at the wrong time and in T20 matches can quickly change in any team’s favour! The first Semi-Final which was between New Zealand and Pakistan turned out to be a disappointing affair after the Kiwis crumbled under the pressure first with the bat and then the bowling looked lackluster.

Yuvraj Singh was just about okay to play this Semi Final at Durban and Dinesh Karthik had to give him way. Aussies replaced the injured Shane Watson with Brad Haddin. India continued with its formula of winning the toss and batting first. Sehwag had early problems with his groin which saw him use Rohit Sharma as his runner and the second problem that he had was the short pitch stuff that kept on coming back sharply into his body. Apart from a delightful square drive, Sehwag’s stay was more of a struggle which came to an end in the 6th over with India putting on 30. Gautam Gambhir was the hope for India as he struck a few boundaries but in the 8th over, his cleanly struck pull shot was caught nicely by Brad Hodge. Gambhir got 24 from 25 with 4 fours. India were now in the business end of their innings and Yuvraj provided the momentum with a hook shot off Stuart Clark for a six which was just the second ball he had faced and there was no looking back at all. Robin Uthappa too got inspired by Yuve’s arrogance and he as well got a hook shot out of the park. Yuvraj’s next six was a pick up shot off Lee that went 119 meters away towards mid wicket to be the biggest six of the tournament. In the next over, India 19 out of Symonds’ first over to put Gilchrist under lot of pressure.

The partnership between Yuvraj and Uthappa provided the platform for a bigger score and even when the latter was run out it really didn’t halt the progress. Uthappa’s was a useful innings of 34 from 28 which came with the help of three sixes! Yuvraj smashed five sixes along with as many fours in his innings of 70 in 30 balls which came to an end in the 18th over. Dhoni (36 from 18 with 4 fours and a six) and Rohit Sharma with their clean hitting lifted India to 188 for 5. Brett Lee was the only economical bowler conceding 25 in his 4 but he failed to take any wickets which was what mattered.

It was the best opportunity for the Indians to beat Australia after their batsmen had given them the cushion of a good total. Things started to look bad for India when Gilchrist started to play his attacking shots off RP Singh but the left hander’s poor footwork allowed Sreesanth to go through his defences. Gilly made 22 in 13 with two sixes and with his wicket Sreesanth was fired up and so fired up that he kept on going after Hayden with long stares and the occasional exchange of words. Hayden started to show the respect to Sreesanth’s seaming deliveries so much so that the bowler ended up with a first spell of 3-1-6-1!

The problem for India was Joginder Sharma, the weak link and in his first over was taken for 18 runs which took Aussies to 64 for 1 in 8. Pathan gave a hope for his team in the next over with the wicket of Hodge but that only got another monster in Symonds to join the monstrous Matt Hayden. Pathan went for two sixes against these two bullies and now it was really about fours and sixes which made it look so simple for Aussies. Yet there was a hope with the equation still at 60 to win from 36 balls, a couple of wickets meant that it was anyone’s game. And Sreesanth returned back to clean up the furniture of Hayden from round the sticks to once again bring back the energy and the spirit back in his team mates. Hayden got 62 in 47 with 4 fours and 4 sixes.

Hayden might have gone but there was still Andrew Symonds in the middle. In the 17th over, Irfan Pathan replaced Sreesanth and in his second ball was clobbered for a six by Mr. Cricket – Michael Hussey. But the left hander came back brilliantly by uprooting the off stump of Andrew Symonds in the fourth ball and that got the equation to 33 from 21. Symonds made 43 in 26 with 3 fours and 2 sixes. In the next over, Harbhajan cleaned up Michael Clarke with a quicker yorker length delivery and then followed it up with a few more balls in the crease to make it 27 from the last two overs! RP Singh kept his cool like he always does to give away just the five runs in the penultimate over which got India in a sure win situation. Joginder Sharma was given the final over with 22 to win and nobody from Australia could pull out any magic to get those runs. Joginder enjoyed the moment by taking a couple of wickets in the over and Aussies were short by 15 runs. Yuvraj was once again the Man of the Match.

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