a poetic moment for the Indian fans. Australia's reign has ended. The crowd has lost it. Yuvraj is on the turf, mid-pitch, arms aloft, looking up at the sky and then waving his bat away in a frenzy of emotions. And just as well. We will have new World Champions, for the first time since 1999. Length ball on off stump, Yuvraj wanted to do it at one go, he backed away marginally and caned it through the covers. Everything is a blur. Australia are out. India will play Pakistan in Mohali.
On behalf of Abhishek and the rest of the gang, this is Nitin Sundar signing off. Join us tomorrow for another Mirpur magnifico - South Africa v New Zealand. Ta!
Sriram Veera's bulletin on the game is here. Stay glued to the site, there will be a lot of analysis from Sambit Bal, Sharda Ugra, Brydon Coverdale, Nagraj Gollapudi and everyone else coming in.
After hurtling through the group stages unconvincingly, India have put up their best performance of the World Cup against the defending champions. This was by no means a flawless show, the mid-innings freeze and the mad running will have to be addressed. The pressure will be more in the semis, where Afridi's boys will be waiting. But, for the first time in the World Cup, India looked like a side that's deserving of the title.
For the sixth time on the trot, there will be at least one Asian team in the World Cup final. Will Sri Lanka make it as well?
Manjunaath: "Well, Facebook & Twitter better brace themselves with powerful servers on whats to come on the 30th!!" Not to forget, ourselves!
Kalyan: "Though India won, this match will be remembered for Ponting's magnificent innings."
Yuvraj has made a good habit of winning the Man of the Match. Fourth time in the World Cup: "I don't know about hitting any purple patch, but the pressure today, playing Australia, it was something else. When Dhoni got out, I knew we still had Raina to come, and thought if we added 40 odd runs it would be good. I told Gautam (after the run-out) I am not Virender Sehwag, I can't run like that ...
Dhoni: "70-odd runs needed with the last batting pair, it basically meant if we played 50 overs with Yuvraj and Raina, we would make it. There was pressure, and it was about handling it. Yusuf at No. 7 was going for the runs, but Raina is technically better and we were keen on batting 50 overs. That's why we went with Raina, but we know Yusuf can be dangerous. I'd have been satisfied keeping them to 250, we had our best fielding unit today. I think we saved around 15 runs that we hence did not need to chase. India v Pakistan semi-finals - it doesn't get better. The pressure will be big, but in reality it makes no difference to us."
Ahmedabad does itself a disservice by booing Ponting: "We needed more wickets in the middle of the innings. With 15 overs to go, it was touch and go, but Yuvraj and Raina played really well. It's disappointing to bow out, we are a better team than we have played."
August: "When was the last time India won 5 games in a World Cup and none has Tendulkar as 'Man of the Match', even after scoring two centuries and one '50' :)" Is the answer August? ;-)
Sanjib: "Ponting the tragic hero, scored a Century in his very last innings of the World Cup Cricket. GREATEST EXIT, hats off for you." Indeed. Reminds me of Saeed Anwar's sparkling exit in 2003.
Hemant: "Yuvi reminded me Mohindar Amarnath in 1983 World cup."
NV: "This is a last and final call for all passengers travelling non stop to Australia on Air Quantas!"
Sai: "Buh-Bye! Restroom here i come!!"
Sumesh: "Congrats to ourselves! I was not looking away from the screen since Dhoni got out and it worked! :-)"
Kedar: "This innings ranks at the very top for Yuvraj... a gem of an innings under immense pressure, what a transformation!"
Priyadarshini: "The last time Australia hadn't played the world cup final was 1992. Things changes and I am loving it."
But above all, contemplate all that Yuvraj has been through in the last year. He lost his form. He lost his fans. He lost his fitness with an injury. Controversy followed him like a faithful pet. He lost his Test spot. He almost lost his limited-overs spots. He hung in there. And he's taking India past every hurdle in this World Cup. With bat, with ball, and on the field. Yuvraj, take a bow.
A day for champions. Ponting may have played his last World Cup game. But don't forget what he accomplished today. He overcame poor form, in tough conditions and played a top-class innings. Don't forget Lee, charging in like his life depended on it, spilling blood in an attempt to save four, but running in at 155+ kph and making India sweat all the way. And I don't need to remind you not to forget Sachin, who played among the most fluent innings Lee-Johnson-Tait would have ever seen.
another yorker, marginally off-line, ends up on the toes and Yuvraj could have flicked through backward square leg but couldn't get it away.
another yorker on middle and leg, Yuvraj can't get anything under it as he drives straight to mid off
Lee is still not giving up. Yorker at 139 kph on off stump, Yuvraj looks to deflect it to third man but finds point
India are a shot away.
another Raina dink through the leg side. Mitch drops a short ball on the pads and Raina will keep tucking them there all day if he has to. There are no fielders there. Easy couple to India. The parties have started in the stands, says Ravi Shastri.
slow and back of a length outside off, Yuvraj looks to guide backward of point and he gets an inside edge onto the pads for a single into the off side.
the crowd is delirious. Mitch slants another wide down the leg side. Ponting looks gutted. India are taking this away.
Raina backs away a touch, but Mitch follows him and Raina steers a short ball to deep backward point for a single
slanting into the pads, Yuvraj gets some pad on it as he looks to flick. Leg bye. India get closer.
short and fast outside off, Raina has things under control now. He opens the face of the bat and runs it down to third man for a single
Md Akhtar: "I am not moving from my place, old Indian trick. Fingers crossed. :-)"
India are running home in a hurry. Johnson sends a bouncer down, but misses the line by a fraction. That's exactly what Raina is playing for when he hops inside the line to a bouncer. This one ends up to the right of his body and he glances it along, using Mitch's pace, and it screams away to fine leg.
back of a length to end the over, Yuvraj is completely focused - no pressure on him despite playing four successive dot balls. He works it to the leg side of the pitch and stays put in the crease.
Lee has not given up. He sends down a skidding yorker, and Yuvraj plays forward to it and ends up meeting it on the full. Just as well, the outside edge takes it away from the stumps and then it thuds into the turf on the way to Haddin.
another short ball, at 143 kph and targetted at the body. Yuvraj stays put on the crease and defends down the track
bouncer at 146.9 kph, he does his best to hustle Yuvraj into the corner, but Yuvraj leaps back in the crease and defends towards point. He had that under complete control.
back of a length and coming into the pads, Raina dabs through square leg for a single
Raina has smeared him over long on. Lee lands one on the length, in Raina's business area. Mid on is inside the circle. Raina needs no more incentive to go over the top, he gets the front foot into line and mows it a long way. Huge moment.
India's biggest nemesis comes on. The Batting Powerplay. They can't delay it anymore. Lee, the champion, has the ball. 22 off 30. Slip in place. Round the wicket.
Raina gets one more, stays on the back foot but whips in front of square easily for a single.
he's doing it easily at the moment. This is top-notch one-day batting on display. Length ball angling across him, Yuvraj opens the face of the bat as he dabs to third man for one more
Fifty to Yuvraj. Each run has come under immense pressure. Fourth fifty of the World Cup. Length ball on the pads, Yuvraj is inside the line and hops onto the back foot as he nudges to deep backward square leg for a couple.
|Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad|
|Toss||Australia, elected to bat first|
|Player Of The Match|
|Series result||India advanced|
|Match number||ODI no. 3143|
|Hours of play (local time)||14.30 start, First Session 14.30-18.00, Interval 18.00-18.45, Second Session 18.45-22.15|
|Match days||24 March 2011 - daynight (50-over match)|