5 Things: Smith shines, Johnson jolts, Kiwi omens

Here are five things we learned from Australia's semifinal victory against India on Thursday at the Cricket World Cup:

1. Steven Smith's magic day

Steven Smith seemingly could do no wrong on the field Thursday night in Sydney. Smith helped Australia shake off the early loss of David Warner by scoring 105 runs off 93 balls and was the only player on either side to master the pitch.

Later on in the field, Smith dented India's chase by convincing captain Michael Clarke to use Australia's replay challenge to overturn a faint edge off the bat of Ajinkya Rahane. It opened the door for Australia, and Smith followed up a short time later by running out Ravindra Jadeja with a direct hit. Compared to his exploits earlier in the summer, Smith has had a modest World Cup so far, but this semifinal was a reminder of what a special talent Australia will have at their disposal for the next decade.

2. Mitchell Johnson finally comes to the party

The ICC's reigning Cricketer of the Year, Mitchell Johnson has been overshadowed by another left-arm fast bowler named Mitchell on his team during the World Cup: Mitchell Starc. Against India, though, Johnson helped stall momentum in India's chase by claiming two of the first three wickets.

After Josh Hazlewood broke up India's imposing opening partnership by removing Shikhar Dhawan, Johnson exploited the breach with the dismissals of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. The wicket of Kohli was especially pivotal to India's chances of chasing down what would have been a World Cup-record chase of 329. After being hammered for six by Sharma, Johnson followed up by knocking back Sharma's stumps on the next delivery. His celebration conveyed the excitement of the moment and a bit of a release after enduring a somewhat underwhelming tournament to that point.

3. India could not get over the Australia hump

India captain MS Dhoni joked in the postmatch news conference that India's tour of Australia was so long that "If we stay another 20 days we can apply for citizenship." The touring squad arrived in mid-November and will be heading home this weekend, but across five months they were never able to beat Australia once.

The frustrations were obvious during the Test series against the hosts, and things didn't look much better during the subsequent ODI tri-series that included England. Somehow the defending World Cup champs turned a corner at the start of the World Cup and had enough momentum to make people believe they had a chance to repeat. It was evident in the overwhelming Indian support in the crowd in Sydney with Indian fans outnumbering Australians by at least 4-to-1. In the end, they ran out of bullets to compete with Australia's firepower, but India put forth a more than commendable campaign considering the lack of momentum they had when the World Cup began.

4. MS Dhoni down, but not out

There had been plenty of speculation leading into this tournament that Dhoni would retire from ODI cricket considering he took the same decision on Test cricket following India's series loss to Australia concluding in January. Dhoni has always marched to the beat of a different drummer, though, and the 33-year-old said after the match that he won't make up his mind until after the ICC World Twenty20, which is scheduled to be held in India next March. India fans can breathe a sigh of relief. For now ...

5. New Zealand's first ODI in Australia in six years

Australia's win over India sets up a rematch of the most action-packed match of the group stage in which New Zealand outlasted Australia by one wicket in a tense low-scorer at Eden Park in Auckland. Australia hasn't lost any match at home since a three-wicket loss to South Africa in Perth on Nov. 16. At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, they have a six-match winning streak dating back to 2012, when they last suffered a narrow defeat to Sri Lanka.

On recent home form, Australia head into Sunday's final as firm favorites, especially since New Zealand hasn't played an ODI in Australia since February 2009. The teams split that five-match series 2-2 with one no result, but there are a few good omens for New Zealand in those series scorecards. One of New Zealand's two wins came in Melbourne by six wickets in a match in which Tuesday's semifinal hero, Grant Elliott, struck an unbeaten 61.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna