Sachin's 85 takes India to 260-9

Mohali, India – Sachin Tendulkar had luck on his side as he made 85 which powered India to 260-9 off their 50 overs against Pakistan in Wednesday’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-final at a jam-packed Punjad Cricket Association Stadium.

Tendulkar was dropped by Misbah-ul-Haq, Younus Khan and Umar Akmal, while keeper Kamran Akmal also missed a half-chance. He was eventually caught at extra-cover by skipper Shahid Afridi off off-spinner Saeed Ajmal after facing 115 balls and striking 11 boundaries.

On an excellent batting surface, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had little hesitation in opting to bat first and he must have felt vindicated when Virender Sehwag (38) tore into the Pakistani attack. The right-hander smashed five fours to crack 21 runs off Umar Gul’s second over much to the enjoyment of the 30,000 fans in the ground.

Left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz (5-46) trapped the opener leg before in the sixth over to end the 48-run opening stand and soon the boundary flow dried up. The 68-run second wicket partnership between Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir (27) consolidated India’s position.

Mohammad Hafeez ended the blossoming partnership by removing Gambhir and Riaz returned to claim Virat Kohli (9) and the in-form Yuvraj Singh with successive balls to reduce the co-hosts, cruising merrily at 116-1 at one stage, to 141-4. Suresh Raina’s cameo of 36 not out helped to bolster the innings in the final stages.

The winners of the match will face Sri Lanka in the final on Saturday at the Wandheke in Mumbai.