ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, semi-final, Mohali

India scrap their way into World Cup final

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

March 30, 2011

Comments: 396 | Text size: A | A

India 260 for 9 (Tendulkar 85, Riaz 5-46) beat Pakistan 231 (Misbah 56) by 29 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sachin Tendulkar got to a fifty off 67 balls, India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar's 85 was the best score in the match, but he was dropped four times along the way © AFP
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India's dream of a World Cup triumph at home is one step closer after their bowlers suffocated Pakistan's batsmen to set up a 29-run victory in the semi-final in Mohali. Saturday's decider will now be a battle of the hosts, and while Sri Lanka might have been surprised by the strength of India's bowling effort, they would also have taken note of a slightly lacklustre batting performance.

In the end, India's 260 for 9 was enough as their bowlers did a fine job, but had Pakistan helped themselves, the target could have been so much more gettable. Sachin Tendulkar was dropped four times in his 85, MS Dhoni was put down once and while Wahab Riaz was extremely impressive in collecting five wickets, Umar Gul had one of his most forgettable days, wilting under the pressure of a World Cup semi-final.

By contrast, India's display in the field was much more professional, and that was the difference in a match that lived up to the extreme pre-match hype. The decision to leave R Ashwin out to make room for Ashish Nehra was an odd choice on a pitch offering plenty of spin, but Nehra and his bowling colleagues built the pressure and gave Pakistan's batsmen little to attack after they made a promising start and reached 70 for 1.

The Indians didn't give away an extra until the 37th over of the innings, and the way they put together strings of dot balls and tight overs was key to their success. Munaf Patel picked up two victims and Yuvraj Singh made up for his golden duck with a pair of wickets, but the most important breakthrough came when Harbhajan Singh bowled Umar Akmal for 29.

Akmal had struck a pair of sixes off Yuvraj, driving him over the sight screen and pulling him over midwicket, and anything was possible while he was at the crease. But Dhoni called on Harbhajan to replace Yuvraj, and with the first ball of his spell he came around the wicket and pushed one across Akmal, taking the off stump when the batsman played for the spin.

Shahid Afridi also fell to Harbhajan when he skied a catch off a full toss, and the obdurate Misbah-ul-Haq was left to steer the chase. He found it difficult to lift his tempo and was the last man out, caught on the boundary for 56 in the final over, but he ate up 76 deliveries and had he shown some more intent earlier, Pakistan might have had a chance.

It was a disappointing end for Pakistan after their top order gave them hope. Mohammad Hafeez made an encouraging 43 before a string of eight dot balls from Munaf brought a brain-fade as Hafeez tried a premeditated paddle sweep from outside off stump and edged behind to Dhoni.

Soon after, the loss of Asad Shafiq brought the Mohali crowd to life, when he tried to cut a Yuvraj delivery that was much too full and straight, and the middle stump was knocked back. Shafiq had made 30 and had displayed a cool temperament until that point, but the required run-rate started to balloon, and Pakistan never recovered.

But while India have booked a place in the final, they must hope they haven't used all their good fortune too soon. Tendulkar might be the finest batsman of his generation, but today he was the luckiest, dropped on 27, 45, 70 and 81. It seemed as though he was going to bring up his 100th international century with one of his least convincing innings.

Misbah at midwicket was the first to put him down, before Younis Khan spilled a regulation chance at cover, both off the bowling of Afridi. The third opportunity came when Kamran Akmal didn't move his hands quickly enough to a thick edge, again off Afridi, and while that was a tough opportunity, a pull to Umar at mid-on from the offspin of Hafeez should have been taken.

Before he had any of those lives, Tendulkar had survived two very tight calls on 23: an lbw decision that was given out by Ian Gould but on review proved to be spinning down leg, and a near-stumping the next delivery when he just got his back foot down in time after losing his balance reaching outside off. When Tendulkar was finally taken at cover by Afridi off the bowling of Ajmal, Pakistan's relief was evident.

Soon after, a scratchy Dhoni, who was also dropped by Kamran, made the mistake of challenging Simon Taufel on an lbw decision. Dhoni had 25 when he missed a Riaz delivery that pitched just in line and was hitting the stumps. It was the second outstanding call by Taufel, who had given Virender Sehwag lbw in a similar fashion earlier, even though the left-armer's angle meant pitching outside leg was a possibility.

Riaz was the man who Afridi had to thank for keeping Pakistan in the contest after India made a strong start and reached 114 for 1 off their first 18 overs. After Gautam Gambhir was stumped wandering down the pitch against Hafeez, Riaz grabbed two wickets in two balls - Virat Kohli caught at backward point and Yuvraj bowled by a low full toss for a golden duck.

Nobody looked as fluent as the crease as Sehwag, who took 21 off Gul (0 for 69) from the third over of the innings. What looked like a 300-plus total in those early overs became 260 when Suresh Raina helped them recover from their middle-order failures.

It was enough, but India's batsmen will need to improve if they want to lift the trophy on Saturday. For now, they can dream of their first World Cup in 28 years.

Match Timeline

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 396 
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Posted by upal on (April 1, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

In my opinion, the Indian team has much better batsman than Pakistan.But Pakistan always had much better bowlers,they even have over 100 bowlers waiting for a chance,who can bowl over 146 km/h.The 1 through 7 batsmans India has are better than any batsman Pakistan has at the moment.Pakistan wished if they had a Raina or Kohli.Same way India wished for a Gul or Wahab.If you are looking at the fielders Kohli and Raina are one of the best fielders in the world and Pakistan has none like that. More over Pakistan team is very young and they haven't played much games with world class players.IPL helped young Indian players tremendously.You can see how responsible Gambhir, Kohli or Raina batted, never tried to hit a Six like Pakistan's Umar. And when the game started Sehwag won the battle against Gul and put Pakistan in the back foot right away.I believe Sehwag won the game for India not Sachin and Sehwag always beat Pak.Sachin was lucky and very conservative.Wahab tried but Raina answered.

Posted by Harsh on (April 1, 2011, 19:52 GMT)

India brilliantly rose to the occasion in charasterictic style while Pakistan displayed the disorganisation in their ranks.Pakistan bowled superbly and were well on course till a shocking batting collapse.What was most significant was that their star batsman were hardly in form and Misbah Ul Haq literally sold the game at the crucial hour.India brilliantly penetrated the Pak batting and every Indian bowler rose to the hour.The way the wicket played baffled every fan as it turned out to be a slow turner and not a flat track.Infact 260 was a total just above par.Great credit should be given to the start of Sehwag,the finish of Raina and the bowling of Harbhajan and Munaf.

The 4 dropped catches of Tendulkar were unbelievable and changed the course of the game-a World record of some kind.Wahab Riaz bolwed like a champion and but for the dropped ctaches may have even won the match for Pakistan .

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 1, 2011, 19:03 GMT)

A message from Pakistani fan > Pakistan played well but it wasn't well enough to beat the top side of the world!! India did a gr8 job .. well done India!! Congratulations to indian fans!! from day-one of the ICC cricket world cup 2011, my prediction was dat India will lift dis world-cup n dis seems quite possible now!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (April 1, 2011, 13:55 GMT)

Tendulkar's man of the match was a travesty. 85 in 4 innings would not justify a newcomer, a place in the side. I have enjoyed Tendulkar's batting over the years. I have the greatest respect for him as a true cricketing genius, a lovely human being and a role model for budding cricketers. However, in this case, Wahab Riaz's performance was clearly the better one. I am sure that none other than the little master will agree with me more. The panel, please take note.

Posted by puneet on (April 1, 2011, 12:39 GMT)


Posted by Sanjay on (March 31, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

Reading all the statements from pakistan fans is heart warming.Thank you for your wishes and your team did pretty well to get to semis so you guys should be satisfied too,some one had to lose in the end.Congratulations to our men in blue and we will still be happy even if we dont win as reaching the finals is not easy either.Good luck for the finals guys.

Posted by S on (March 31, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

Am I the only person who believes that Sachin did not deserve the Man on the Match? It does not HAVE to go to the winning team.

Posted by Cricinfouser on (March 31, 2011, 16:42 GMT)

I am an Indian fan, but I am amazed how Pak produces extremely talented cricketers time and again. They were completely under prepared. Afridi was appointed as the captain just weeks before the tournament, but still he managed to win the confidence of his team and made them perform....good leader. Pak did not have Mohd Asif, Mohd Amir and Shoaib was unfit..their 3 best bowlers. But still they managed to reach the semis. They defeated big teams like SL and Aus in the league matches. Pak is a v talented team, just that they need to be more consistent.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 31, 2011, 16:39 GMT)

Excellent Team efforts by Indian Team....All the best for final.....

Posted by sarpreet on (March 31, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

Wahab Riaz should have been declared man of the match. He was the best performer from both sides.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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