Friday, March 25, 2011


India beat Australia by five wickets in the second quarter-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at Ahmedabad.India chased down 261 for five, with Yuvraj Singh unbeaten on 57 after Australia had earlier posted 260 for six, a century from Ricky Ponting underpinning their total.
Earlier in the day, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. India once again opened with R Ashwin and he tied the openers down in tandem with Zaheer Khan. Only 40 runs came off the first ten overs as MS Dhoni used a combination of pace and spin to choke the run-rate. But on the last ball of the ten mandatory power-play overs, when Ashwin bowled Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting came out to the crease. It changed the course of the match, though not in the blitzkrieg fashion of 2003.

Meanwhile, the Indian bowling and fielding had been pretty busy, probably at their best yet in the tournament. They got regular breakthroughs in the middle overs, especially after Yuvraj Singh struck a telling blow to get Haddin out. Michael Clarke fell for eight, also accounted for by Yuvraj, but the biggest and most crucial wicket was of Michael Hussey. He was bowled for only three runs in the 34th over by Zaheer Khan.
Australia were 150 for four at that stage. Ponting then rallied along with David Hussey, who came in to the side in place of Steve Smith, and made a brisk 38 off only 26 balls. In between Khan also scalped Cameron White, dashing the Aussie hopes of launching an attack in the last ten overs. Ponting finally fell for 104 runs in the 49th over and tried his best to force the pace. Despite all their efforts they could only make 260 for 6 in their fifty overs.

At 187 for 5, India were staring at another collapse. But Suresh Raina had been drafted in place of Yusuf Pathan for this match, and he had fielded with much gusto earlier. It was his time to stand with the bat now.
He was involved in a good partnership of 74 runs off only 10.1 overs with Yuvraj for the sixth wicket. It seemed a surprise for they scored at more than seven per over, saving India from a highly precarious position. While Raina scored a quick-fire 34 off 28 balls, Yuvraj completed his fourth fifty in the tournament, replete with scintillating cuts and drives accounting for eight fours. Together the duo washed away any hopes Australia had of a fourth consecutive world title, making sure that ODI cricket will finally have a new champion after fifteen years.

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