M A I N   N E W S

INdia storm into semis, to meet Pak
Yuvraj shines with bat & ball, Sachin completes 18,000 ODI runs

Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir hit half centuries during the quarterfinal tie against Australia at Motera on Thursday.
Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir hit half centuries during the quarterfinal tie against Australia at Motera on Thursday. — Reuters

Ahmedabad, March 24
India setup a dream semifinal clash with Pakistan by beating defending champions Australia by five wickets in the World Cup here tonight. Chasing a competitive 261 to win, India were helped along by some sensible batting from Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh.

On a pitch that had started crumbling as early as the 5th over of the day, India treaded with caution and despite losing Virender Sehwag early managed to overhaul the Australian total. It was Tendulkar, who also completed his 18,000 ODI runs, along with Gambhir, who steadied the innings after Sehwag was dismissed by Watson. With erratic bounce and some hostile bowling to deal with, the Indian batsman applied themselves and built crucial partnerships to etch a win which will see them take on Pakistan in Mohali.

Earlier, Ricky Ponting smashed his 30th ODI century to return to form and power Australia to 260-6 against India in the second World Cup quarterfinal.

Ponting (104) won a good toss on a slow, turning track at the Sardar Patel Stadium where he reckoned 250 would be a good total. He and Brad Haddin (53) then ensured the total exceeded his expectations.

Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Zaheer Khan claimed two wickets apiece as India used seven bowlers in the match, including Sachin Tendulkar who last rolled his bowling arm back in 2009 against the same opponents.

For Australia, opener Shane Watson (25) fell after a sluggish start but Haddin played without inhibitions and was particularly harsh on Munaf Patel.

The Haddin-Ponting partnership had yielded 70 brisk runs when Yuvraj once again underlined his importance as a part-time bowler, dismissing Haddin and Michael Clarke. Mike Hussey's stay was cut short by Zaheer Khan (2-53) but his brother David (38 not out) played a cameo in Ponting's company to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Australia milked 44 runs from their batting powerplay overs - 44th to 48th - without losing any wicket and Ponting took a single off Ashwin to reach his fifth World Cup century before giving his wicket to the off-spinner in the penultimate over. Ponting’s 118-ball knock included seven fours and a six.

India will now take on Pakistan in the March 30 semifinal at Mohali. — Agencies





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |