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India through to World Cup final

Discussion in 'Cricket' started by noelyf, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. noelyf

    noelyf VIP Member

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    Sachin Tendulkar hit 85 to help India to solid total

    Wednesday, 30 March 2011


    World Cup favourites India held their nerve for a 29-run win over Pakistan in Mohali to progress to this weekend's final against Sri Lanka.


    The jury was out, after Sachin Tendulkar (85) had ridden his luck against Wahab Riaz (five for 46) and others, whether India's 260 for nine was a defendable total.


    But in a cauldron-like atmosphere in front of a capacity crowd for today's high-profile semi-final against their old foes in Mohali, the tournament co-hosts had matters in hand despite an all-too-late rally from Misbah-ul-Haq.



    Pakistan briefly appeared on course to upset the odds after Mohammad Hafeez eased their run chase off to a promising start.


    But his opening partner Kamran Akmal flashed a square-drive at Zaheer Khan into the hands of Yuvraj Singh at point, and then Hafeez himself spoiled his own good work with a poorly-conceived and executed shot which resulted in his caught-behind departure to Munaf Patel for 43.


    Asad Shafiq was bowled middle-stump trying to cut Yuvraj, and Younus Khan holed out off the slow left-armer at cover.


    Umar Akmal temporarily raised Pakistan hopes again. But once Harbhajan Singh did him for pace with a flatter delivery from round the wicket, only something exceptional from big hitters Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi could put the match back in the balance - and it did not happen.


    Misbah almost ground to a halt at times in a mystifying 56 from 75 balls, and appeared to gamble all on a delayed powerplay.


    But by then, as the run rate required rose alarmingly, others had fallen trying and failing to keep Pakistan in contention.


    Riaz and Saeed Ajmal's outstanding bowling had earlier restricted India's powerhouse line-up.

    Tendulkar was dropped four times and still fell short of becoming the first man in cricket history to make 100 international hundreds.


    But India were nonetheless indebted to him for ensuring an early blitz from his opening partner Virender Sehwag was not squandered on a good pitch.


    Sehwag put Pakistan on the back foot almost from the outset, after India won the toss in this day-night fixture, taking advantage of the demanding field Afridi set for Umar Gul and hitting the seamer out of the new-ball attack.


    Gul had precious little defence on the leg-side, and Sehwag picked off a series of length balls to the unguarded boundary.


    There were five fours in one over, and Sehwag hit nine in all from only 25 balls.


    But Afridi turned to Riaz, who gave him the much-needed breakthrough in his first over with a short-of-a-length delivery which pitched on leg-stump and straightened for an lbw verdict from Simon Taufel - confirmed by DRS.


    Tendulkar's good fortune began on 23 with two marginal third-umpire rulings.


    First DRS overturned Ian Gould's lbw decision to an Ajmal off-break, surprisingly indicating the ball was turning enough to miss leg-stump; then from the very next delivery, Tendulkar over-balanced pushing forward at a doosra but had just re-grounded his foot when Kamran Akmal took off the bails.


    Tendulkar's three lives against Afridi's leg-spin came on 27, 45 and 68 - dropped at midwicket by Misbah, cover by Younus and then behind by Akmal.


    The master batsman made the most of his escapes, though - and how India needed him to, as others faltered.


    Gautam Gambhir went up the wicket and missed a Hafeez off-break to be easily stumped, and then Riaz returned to take two big wickets in two balls with reverse swing.


    Virat Kohli got a leading edge to point, and Yuvraj was bowled first ball by a late inswinging full toss.


    Tendulkar's luck finally ran out when he drove Ajmal low to cover, where, appropriately, Afridi himself took the catch.


    Pakistan's fallibility in the field extended to one more missed chance, Mahendra Singh Dhoni dropped by the wicketkeeper off Riaz. But the left-armer responded with an action-replay of Sehwag's dismissal, Taufel's lbw judgment again vindicated by DRS to see off Dhoni and give Riaz a career-best.


    India were therefore left with only one specialist batsman to exploit powerplay.