Sydney: India’s dreams ended with the departure of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni -- who made a slambam 65 but left it a little too late to pull hopes out of the rut -- in reply to Australia’s imposing total of 328 in this semifinal clash in the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.
Indian innings was folded for 233 in the 47th over as Australia sealed a 95-run win and a place in the World Cup 2015 final where they will face co-hosts New Zealand on March 29 in Melbourne.
Here is how the action unfolded.
Indian batsmen never looked in any position to win throughout their innings, almost in a hurry to get back to the pavillion. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had begun well, and then Dhoni partnered Ajinkya Rahane for a gritty 70-run partnership.
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But that was it. Virat Kohli failed and got out for just one run. The other top batsmen got some runs but could never convert it to a big score that could anchor the innings.
The home team first picked up Shikhar Dhawan at the score of 45 (41) – caught Glenn Maxwell, bowled Josh Hazlewood – just when he and fellow opener Rohit Sharma had begun to flex their muscles.
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Then, a rash pull from Virat Kohli – bowled Mitchell Johnson, caught Brad Haddin for 1 (13 balls) –put Australia firmly in the driver’s seat.
Rohit Sharma, 34 (48 balls), was bowled by Mitchel Jonhson. Then the Dhoni-Rahane duo put up a cautious 70 runs but by then it had become an arduous journey.
Ravindra Jadeja's stay in the middle was cut short by Steve Smith's brilliance. The Australian was bang on target as he made a direct-hit to run-out Jadeja. Dhoni was the next to go for 65, followed by Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohit Sharma.
Brad Haddin earlier made sure that Australia got their fifth wicket; not with his brilliant glovework but by persuading his skipper Michael Clarke, to go for a review.
The duo of Raina and Rahane brought up India's hundred in the 22nd over. But the joy of moving past the 100-run mark did not last much as James Faulkner dismissed Suresh Raina in the 24th over. Raina tried to guide the delivery towards third-man but ended up giving a catch to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
Rohit Sharma tried to settle some nerves hitting Johnson for a six through the leg-side. But the Australian pacer hit back right on the next ball, breaking through Rohit Sharma's defence, to give Australia their third wicket.
Australia wasted no time scalping the second Indian wicket as Mitchell Johnson dismissed Virat Kohli in the 16th over. The Indian supporters at SCG were left stunned after Kohli got out.
Dhawan continued to make merry but just when he looked good to torment Australia further, Josh Hazlewood cut short his plans. Glenn Maxwell, who was fielding in the deep, did not do any mistake to hold onto a catch.
Dhawan made a move and did it in style as he attacked James Faulkner. First he hit a crunching drive through the covers, then guided one for another and followed it up with a huge six over the square-leg boundary to bring up India's fifty.
Rohit, who is often blamed for being loose outside the off stump, settled down as he smashed Mitchell Johnson for a six over the fine-leg boundary. Shikhar Dhawan did not score at brisk pace but looked comfortable in the middle.
Indian chase began on a very nervous note as Rohit Sharma's bat found an edge and Shane Watson, who was standing in the slips, claimed a catch. The on-field umpire decided to opt for third-umpire's decison. The replays clearly showed that Watson grounded the ball.
After a huge scare earlier in the Australian innings when it looked the home team might pile on nearly 400 runs, India did well to restrict the Australians to 328 runs at the Sidney Cricket Ground today in this do-or-die semifinal clash of World Cup 2015. But 329 to win is still an imposing total for India to get.
Pacer Umesh Yadav picked up 4 wickets, ably supported by Mohit Sharma who got 2.
It was a bit of a see-saw display for the home team. After David Warner fell to Umesh Yadav in the fourth over, Steve Smith and Aaron Finch showed some awesome batting power, notching up 182 runs till the 35th over.
Smith fell at 105 (93 balls), caught Rohit Sharma off the bowling of Umesh Yadav.
The Australians lost regular wickets after that to end 7 down at the end of the innings. The last burst was provided by Mitchell Johnson who ended with figures 27 runs off 9 balls.
In the last 15 overs, the Aussies lost 6 wickets – that of Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Aaron Finch (81), Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner and Steve Smith (105).
While Australia could not manage to score 400 following a flurry of wickets, Mitchell Johnson's blitz in the closing stages of the game powered Australia to 328 in 50 overs.
James Faulkner who tried to take control as he smashed the Indian attack through the leg-side in attempt to win back the momentum, was dismissed by Umesh Yadav in the 47th over.
Earlier, Indians were on a roll after Australia lost four wickets quick wickets. Mohit Sharma landed one more blow after Yadav and Ashwin pushed Australia on the backfoot when he dismissed the Australian skipper Michael Clarke in the 43rd over.
Australian needed skipper Michael Clarke and Shane Watson would need to resurrect the innings if the home side aiming to post a huge total on the board in the semifinal.
India on a roll as Umesh Yadav struck for the third time to end Aaron Finch's party and pushed Australia on the backfoot. Australia, who were bullying the Indian bowlers and looked good to score 350-plus total, were left struggling with three quick wickets.
Earlier, Glenn Maxwell arrived in the middle after Smith's dismissal and things started to look ominous for India as he smashed the ball around the park with ease. however, Ravichandran Ashwin struck when it mattered as he dismissed Maxwell.
After bullying Indian attack to notch up another hundred, Steve Smith made his way back to the Australian dressing room, falling off to Umesh Yadav bowling in the 35th over.
Finch went on to reach fighting fifty after Australia did not enjoy a good start. Smith, made merry as he continued to torment the Indian bowlers, something which he has been doing for the past four months. The right-hander brought up another hundred against India when he took Shami for a ride, scoring 14 runs in the 33rd over.
Finch had a nervous moment in the 23rd over bowled by Jadeja. The ball wrapped on Finch's pads and Indian opted for a review. But the right-hander survived the scare.
After struggling initially, Aaron Finch found his mojo as he ably accompanied in-form Steve Smith. The Australian vice-captain scored another fifty as Australia brought up their hundred in the 19th over. The duo completed the hundred run partnership to push India on the backfoot.
For what promises to be a nailbiting contest, even the press box is jam-packed.
But Steve Smith, India's tormentor in the Test series, was at his best as he thwarted the Indian bowling attack. While he was watchful against Shami, he took Umesh Yadav for a ride; smashing him for four fours in the tenth over, to bring up Australia's fifty.
India's leading wicket-taker in World Cup 2015, Mohammed Shami, then, bowled another brilliant over to put Finch under pressure. But it was Umesh Yadav who gave India their first breakthrough and a big one too, when he dismissed ever so dangerous David Warner in the fourth over.
Shami bowled a testing first over, leaving Aaron Finch clueless and testing David Warner. While the second over bowled by Umesh Yadav fetched Australia 13 runs as Warner smashed a four and a six.
Sparks can be expected to fly when confident, well-balanced teams from cricketing superpowers Australia and India clash in a mouthwatering World Cup semifinal.
IND XI: RG Sharma, S Dhawan, V Kohli, A Rahane, S Raina, MS Dhoni, R Jadeja, R Ashwin, M Shami, M Sharma, U Yadav— BCCI (@BCCI) March 26, 2015
Here are some encouraging stats for Team India, who lost the toss.
Here is how the SCG pitch looks like for the semifinal.
D. Warner c Kohli b Yadav 12
A. Finch c Dhawan b Yadav 81
S. Smith c R Sharma b Yadav 105
G. Maxwell c Rahane b Ashwin 23
S. Watson c Rahane b M Sharma 28
M. Clarke c R Sharma b M Sharma 10
J. Faulkner b Yadav 21
B. Haddin not out 7
M. Johnson not out 27
Extras (b1, lb7, w6) 14
Total (7 wkts, 50 overs) 328
Did not bat: M Starc, J Hazlewood
Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Warner), 2-197 (Smith), 3-232 (Maxwell), 4-233 (Finch), 5-248 (Clarke), 6-284 (Faulkner), 7-298 (Watson)
Bowling: Shami 10-0-68-0 (2w); Yadav 9-0-72-4 (4w); M Sharma 10-0-75-2; Kohli 1-0-7-0; Jadeja 10-0-56-0; Ashwin 10-0-42-1;
R. Sharma b Johnson 34
S. Dhawan c Maxwell b Hazlewood 45
V. Kohli c Haddin b Johnson 1
A. Rahane c Haddin b Starc 44
S. Raina c Haddin b Faulkner 7
MS Dhoni run out (Maxwell) 65
R. Jadeja run out (Smith) 16
R. Ashwin b Faulkner 5
Mohammed Shami not out 1
M. Sharma b Faulkner 0
U. Yadav b Starc 0
Extras (lb8, w5, nb2) 15
Total (all out, 46.5 overs) 233
Fall of wickets: 1-76 (Dhawan), 2-78 (Kohli), 3-91 (R Sharma), 4-108 (Raina), 5-178 (Rahane), 6-208 (Jadeja), 7-231 (Dhoni), 8-232 (Ashwin), 9-232 (M Sharma), 10-233 (Yadav)
Bowling: Starc 8.5-0-28-2 (1nb, 2w); Hazlewood 10-1-41-1; Johnson 10-0-50-2 (2w); Faulkner 9-1-59-3 (1nb, 1w); Maxwell 5-0-18-0; Watson 4-0-29-0;...