India set up final date with Sri Lanka
Mohali: India lifted their game when it mattered most and breezed into the final, snapping Pakistan's victory run in the second semi-final of the ICC World Cup at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali Wednesday.
India conquered their arch-rivals in front of a vociferous crowd of more than 30,000 that cheered their hearts out for every run and wicket.
Pakistan paid the price for a shoddy fielding display and some unimaginative batting to crash to a 29-run defeat.
The Men in Blue will now take on Sri Lanka in the final on Saturday at the Wankhede stadium.
The Indian bowlers put their best foot forward and bowled immaculately to defend a challenging total of 260, bowling out Pakistan for 231. Misbah-Ul Haq hit a fighting 56 runs.
Sachin Tendulkar top scored with 85 — an innings that was unusually marred by several chances — to bag the Man-of-the-Match award. Another 15 runs more would have fetched him his 100th century, but it seems like the batting maestro has reserved it for the final at his home ground in Mumbai.
A fine five-wicket spell from Pakistan's left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz went in vain. He had put on the brakes on Indian batting after Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar gave the hosts an electrifying start.
A thick edge
Though Riaz provided the breakthrough, Pakistan fielders pathetically put down Tendulkar while on 27, 45, 70 and 81. Misbah at mid-wicket was the first to drop him, followed by Younis Khan at cover, both off the bowling of skipper Shahid Afridi. The third chance came when wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal failed to move his hand to snap a thick edge, and little later his brother Umar too dropped Tendulkar at mid-on off Mohammad Hafeez.
Akmal continued with his shoddy wicketkeeping and simply failed to back his bowlers.
Tendulkar was also lucky to survive two close calls. When on 23, he was declared leg-before, but the review went in his favour. Later on, he almost got stumped off Saeed Ajmal, but managed to keep his back foot grounded. To make matters worse for Pakistan, Umar failed to deliver, giving away 69 runs off his eight overs.
Nothing went Pakistan's way right from the toss.
Tendulkar, during the course of his innings, became the first player to score more than 400 runs thrice in a World Cup, breaking Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting's record of more than 400 runs twice in a World Cup. Sehwag and Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni completed 1,000 one-day International runs against Pakistan during the course of their innings.
Pakistan looked like getting on top only when Riaz struck two vital blows off successive deliveries to dismiss Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh. From a healthy 116 for 1, India slipped to 187 for 5. However, through quick knocks from Dhoni (25) and Suresh Raina (36 not out), India managed to post a fighting total.
Though the Pakistan openers put on 44 runs, Indian pacer Zaheer Khan once again provided the breakthrough, having Kamran caught by Yuvraj at point. Mohammad Hafeez, who had started to stroke nicely, went for an uncalled for paddle sweep off Munaf Patel and edged to wicketkeeper Dhoni for 43 runs.
Misbah fought a lone battle for Pakistan, but his efforts were not enough.
* V. Sehwag lbw b Riaz 38
* S. Tendulkar c Afridi b Ajmal 85
* G. Gambhir st K Akmal b Hafeez 27
* V. Kohli c U Akmal b Riaz 9
* Y. Singh b Riaz 0
* M.S. Dhoni lbw b Riaz 25
* S. Raina not out 36
* H. Singh st K Akmal b Ajmal 12
* Z. Khan c K Akmal b Riaz 9
* A. Nehra run out (K Akmal/Riaz) 1
* M. Patel not out 0
* Extras: (lb-8, w-8, nb-2) 18
Total: (9 wkts, 50 overs) 260
Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Sehwag), 2-118 (Gambhir), 3-141 (Kohli), 4-141 (Yuvraj), 5-187 (Tendulkar), 6-205 (Dhoni), 7-236 (Harbhajan), 8-256 (Zaheer), 9-258 (Nehra)
Bowling: Gul 8-0-69-0 (2nb, 1w); Razzaq 2-0-14-0; Riaz 10-0-46-5 (4w); Ajmal 10-0-44-2 (3w); Afridi 10-0-45-0; Hafeez 10-0-34-1
* K. Akmal c Yuvraj Singh b Khan 19
* M. Hafeez c Dhoni b Patel 43
* A. Shafiq b Yuvraj Singh 30
* Younus Khan c Raina b Yuvraj Singh 13
* Misbah-ul-Haq c Kohli b Khan 5 6
* U. Akmal b Harbhajan Singh 29
* A. Razzaq b Patel 3
* S. Afridi c Sehwag b Harbhajan Singh 19
* W. Riaz c Tendulkar b Nehra 8
* U. Gul lbw b Nehra 2
* S. Ajmal not out 1
* Extras: (w 8) 8
Total: (all out; 49.5 overs) 231
Fall of wickets: 1-44 2-70 3-103 4-106 5-142 6-150 7-184 8-199 9-208
Bowling: Khan 9.5-0-58-2 (2w), Nehra 10-0-33-2 (1w), Patel 10-1-40-2 (1w), Harbhajan Singh 10-0-43-2, Yuvraj Singh 10-1-57-2.
Result: India won by 29 runs