Yuvraj Singh’s trademark punched drives, ferocious pulls, and some touch play to work the ball around India eases its way into the semi-finals. Singh takes credit for blasting a fifty and picking up two wickets. Australia, a three time consecutive world champion and India’s heartbreaker from 2003, will have to fly back home – defeated. On April 2nd the new Cricket World Champion will be named at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The super star of the second quarter-final, Singh, first bowled really well and picked up the two crucial wickets in Motera. Singh’s hitting attacked Australia all around the park. Singh’s unbeaten 57 runs and winning partnership with Suresh Raina (74 runs) for the sixth wicket put India over the finish line.
Australia’s batting simply lacked in today’s tournament. Shane Watson and Brad Haddin did their thing, but the rest of the innings lacked luster. The Aussies needed their best batsman to step up, but the pressure was on. And with rumors of Ponting being sacked from captaincy, Ponting held his head high. Ponting’s display of grit was valuable. He never appeared entirely comfortable, but never appeared vulnerable either.
When Ponting and Singh squared up the wicket had turn and just the hint of uncertain bounce. There were fielders close in. Singh backed off. Ponting’s problem with off spinners is largely in how he leads with his bat. Ponting found he could close the bat face down, working the spinner away with less risk.
A newly matured Brad Haddin played the perfect foil. Facing Ashwin after seeing his partner struggle with the off spinner, was his choice. Once Ponting joined Haddin, Haddin batted with calm, playing largely in the V to counter spin and latching onto the odd loose ball.
Raina, teaming with Virat Kohli, Ashwin, and Singh resulted in the wicket. Haddin single-handedly shamed Munaf Patel, but lost his chance against Yuvraj when his ball was floated, hit off, and spun away. Haddin didn’t account for the spin when he dove; Raina dove headfirst and held. The game turned again.
Zaheer Khan took the ball out, had Michael Hussey fishing, and produced a knuckle ball. Hussey played for it, bemused as it slowed down and shaped off the deck.
David Hussey’s innings were of explosive power. His run scoring allowed Ponting to continue his fine accumulation. With 55 runs at 7.7+, the pair threatened to take the game from India. Just then the game changed directions again. Ashwin ended Ponting’s run. Instead of the 275+ there was potential for, Australia ended with 260.
The final score was India over Australia by five wickets. Australia was at six wickets for 50 overs and 260 runs. India ended with five wickets, 47.4 overs and 261 runs. A dream semi-final between Pakistan and India will take place at Mohali on March 30th. Pak having ended the Aussie’s 34-game winning streak, and India ending Australia’s reign as defending champions – this will be a game written in the history books.
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