India played outstanding cricket in all the three departments of the game in yesterday’s Quarter Final to prevail over defending champions Australia to enter into the Semi Finals. The hosts will be locking horns with arch-rivals in the 2nd Semi-Final on the 30th at the PCA Stadium in Mohali!
It was yet again a victory scripted by Yuvraj Singh who continues to have a dream run with both the bat and the ball. A tough win it was for India chasing down a reasonably high total against a bowling attack containing three pace merchants who bowled over 150 kmph! Infact there was a ball hurled at 157 kmph by Brett Lee but he and the other bowlers could not stop India from reaching the destination!
Toss and Teams : On what was a dry pitch, Ricky Ponting won the crucial toss which helped his side to bat first when conditions are going to be a lot better than in the second half. The Aussies made one change with David Hussey coming in for Steven Smith. India made one change too with Virender Sehwag coming into the side while Yusuf Pathan was made to give way for him.
Australia Batting – Ponting century takes Aus to a healthy total
It wasn’t an intimidating start from the Aussies yet there were getting boundaries regularly in the first powerplay. But somehow the momentum wasn’t quite high and in the 10th over, India found its first breakthrough when Shane Watson (25 from 38 balls with 5 fours) attempted a slog sweep but only to have his off stump shattered by an arm ball from Ashwin. Australia at that time had only 40 on the board when Ponting joined Haddin to put up a solid stand. Haddin took his chances against Munaf Patel which increased the run rate but lost his wicket in the 23rd over after uppishly driving Yuvraj Singh into the hands of extra covers. Haddin fell for a well made 53 from 62 balls (with 6 fours and a six) having added 70 runs for the 2nd wicket.
India bounced back in the middle overs taking two quick wickets that of Michael Clarke (top edged a slog sweep off Yuvraj to the running Zaheer at wide long on) and Michael Hussey (bowled through the gate in an attempted flick shot off a slower leg cutter from Zaheer Khan). Australia were in some trouble at 150 for 4 in the 34th over but India failed to get few more wickets and put them on the mat. Ponting held the innings together and got two crucial partnerships – first was a 40-run stand for the 5th wicket with Cameron White (who scored 12 before punching too early off the backfoot to pat a return catch to Zaheer) and then 55 runs for the 6th wicket with David Hussey in the final overs.
Ricky Ponting departed in the 49th over when he went for a reverse sweep cum pull off Ashwin which was caught at short thirdman. The Aussie Skipper who registered a 30th ODI hundred was gone for a score of 104 (from 118 balls with 7 fours and a six). David Hussey remained unbeaten with a handy cameo of 38* from 26 balls with 3 fours and a six. Australia lost steam in the last three overs to be restricted for 260 for 6. Yuvraj Singh was the best bowler taking 2 for 44 in 10 overs. R Ashwin and Zaheer Khan who took the responsiblity of bowling in the powerplays took two wickets each. Harbhajan Singh went wicketless but did his part in sustaining the pressure.
India Batting – Yuvraj, Raina finish the chase in style!
The homeside got to a solid start despite Brett Lee looking very dangerous with the new ball. However in the 9th over, Virender Sehwag (15 from 22 balls) spoilt the good start by going for an attrocious pull shot off Watson which resulted in a top edge to be caught at squareleg. Gautam Gambhir joined Tendulkar with the side at 44 for 1 and came up with a professional partnership of 50 runs for the 2nd wicket. Tendulkar (53 from 68 balls with7 fours) was the next to get out when he got a thin edge to a forcing backfoot drive off Shaun Tait in the 19th over. The Master Blaster crossed 18000 runs in his ODI Career during the course of this knock.
Gambhir got another solid partnership going with Virat Kohli before the latter got out hoicking a full toss from David Hussey into the hands of mid wicket in the 29th over. This partnership for the 3rd wicket was a useful one worth of 49 runs. Around five overs later, Gautam Gambhir crazily ran himself out after a needless mix up with Yuvraj Singh to leave India at 168 for 4. Gambhir looked very shaky at the start of his innings but did well to finish with 50 from 64 balls (with 2 fours) which was his 24th ODI fifty.
Skipper MS Dhoni entered the middle to join Yuvraj just when the Aussies were sniffing a chance as the equation was getting to run-a-ball. In the 38th over, MS Dhoni (7) almost buried India’s chances of a victory when he uppishly played a square cut off Lee which was well caught at backward point by Clarke. It was a tough equation with 74 needed to win from 75 balls when Suresh Raina walked in knowing very well that he and Yuvraj were the only recognized batsmen left now!
An intense battle resumed between bat and ball as the Aussies weren’t going to give an inch at all and the two Indian left handers determined not to do anything silly. It was the 40th over that helped India to ease the nerves and get ahead of the game as Brett Lee was taken for four boundaries to reduce the equation to 54 from 60 balls. The pressure was released on new man Suresh Raina as well and he looked pretty good in his pull shots against the quicks. In the 41st over, Shaun Tait matters worse by spraying a widish yorker which beat the keeper for Five Wides! After this moment there was no stopping for the two Indians and it was only a formality as the match slipped away from the Aussies rapidly! In the 46th over, Suresh Raina confirmed an Indian victory when he clobbered Brett Lee for a flat six over long on to make the equation 16 from 29 balls.
It was in the fourth ball of the 48th over that this Quarter Final came to an end with Yuvraj Singh driving Lee gloriously through extra covers for a boundary as India got to a 5-wicket victory with 14 balls to spare. Yuvraj Singh who struck his 49th ODI fifty remained unconquered on 57* from 65 balls with 8 fours to get his third Man of the Match award of this World Cup! Suresh Raina justified his selection ahead of Pathan with a cool unbeaten knock of 34 from 28 balls (with 2 fours and a six).