Yuvraj stars as India humble Aussies
Ahmedabad, India – India sparked wild celebrations among its billion plus fans after ending Australia’s remarkable 12-year reign as World Cup champions with a thrilling five-wicket win in the quarter-finals.
Chasing 261 for victory, India fumbled and faltered but half-centuries from Sachin Tendulkar (53), Gautam Gambhir (50) and Yuvraj Singh (57 not out) eventually helped them to overwhelm the target with 14 balls to spare and set up a much-anticipated semi-final with Pakistan.
However, when India lost the wickets of Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Gambhir, it seemed as if their chances of stopping the Aussies were over. Tendulkar seemed cruising to his 100th international century but the otherwise erratic Shaun Tait managed to induce an edge that sailed into Haddin’s gloves and a deathly silence descended at the 48,000 seat Sardar Patel Stadium.
Gambhir had just reached his 24th half-century when he ran himself out after an almighty mix-up with Yuvraj, having survived two such comical communication breakdowns immediately before the dismissal. Yuvraj, however, kept his cool and batted to the end and saw India through by smashing the winning boundary.
While Yuvraj celebrated by holding aloft his arms, looking up at the sky and swinging his bat like a fencing champion, Ponting's men were left to digest their earliest World Cup defeat since 1992. It will be the first time in almost two decades they will not feature in the final of the showpiece event.
“The pressure was something else. Playing Australia was a high pressure game. Beating Australia, the three-times world champions was something special,” said Yuvraj, who captured his second consecutive Man-of-the-Match award.
Ponting said his team were simply "not good enough". He added: “Probably with 15 overs to go it was a touch and go sort of game but Yuvraj and (Suresh) Raina played too well. It’s disappointing to bow out, we are a better team than we have played.”
Opting to bat first, Australia rode Ponting’s well-crafted 104 – his 30th ODI century as they posted 260-6.
He and Brad Haddin (53) then ensured the total exceeded his expectations despite India using seven bowlers against them, including Tendulkar who last rolled his bowling arm back in 2009 against the same opponents.