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ICC Cricket World Cup 2011: India Beat Pakistan to Reach Home Final

India squeezed past their cricketing rivals, Pakistan, in the Semi Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 on Wednesday 30th March 2011 at Mohali, India.

Despite being held to what looked like a slightly low 260 for 9 from their 50 Overs, India picked up vital wickets at vital moments, holding Pakistan to 231 All Out from 49.5 Overs, meaning that India won by 29 runs.

India will, as so often in the past, thank their match-best innings of Sachin Tendulkar (85) though Pakistan will, rightly, point to the fact that the mercurial batsman was dropped on many occasions during his innings.

Pakistan’s catching was, in truth, quite dreadful, as chances were dropped throughout India’s innings – if they had held one of the early Tendulkar chances, the outcome today might have been very different. Sachin was dropped three times, almost stumped and survived a reviewed LBW appeal on his way to perhaps the most fortunate 85 runs he will ever score in an ODI.

But such is the way the cricketing gods move.

An excellent performance from Riaz with the ball saw him pick up 5 wickets for 46 runs from his 10 overs, and some tight lines bowled by Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez restricted Tendulkar to fewer runs than he might usually expect to pick up.

Gul, who, up until today, had been one of Pakistan’s best bowlers, had a distinctly below-par afternoon with the ball, as he went for 69 runs from 8 overs, without picking up a wicket, on a day when a better performance was required.

India’s batsmen handled Afridi better than any side to date – the Pakistan captain failed to pick up a single wicket, and went for 46 runs from his 10 relatively tight overs.

But it was with the bat that Pakistan failed to capitalise, on a reasonable track, as they never got up to the just over 5 runs per over run rate required at any point in their innings. The pitch did appear to slow throughout the course of the match, however.

Misbah-ul-Haq (56) top scored for Pakistan, but was far too slow to add runs during the middle of the innings as he looked to steady the ship while the rest of the batsmen came and went. Afridi, speaking after the match, lamented his side’s inability to build a partnership during this phase – when a good innings from two batsmen would have been enough to see them home.

Each of the Indian bowlers contributed vital wickets – Harbijan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Patel and Nehra each took two wickets, and Zaheer Khan also contributed 2 wickets, if a little expensive, in going for 58 runs from 9.5 overs: Zaheer’s main contribution was the important dismissal of opener Kamran Akmal (19), but he took the opening and finishing wicket today.

India picked up regular wickets, but it was the quick-fire brace of wickets taken by Yuvraj Singh, who bowled out number three, Shafiq (30) before having number four, Younus Khan (13) caught Raina, taking the score from 103 for 2 to 106 for 4, that did most of the damage to Pakistan’s innings. They never really recovered from these blows.

When wickets came for India, they came in little clusters, and when captain Shahid Afridi (19) became Harbhajan Singh’s second wicket in a short space of time, at 184 for 8, the writing appeared to be on the wall.

Despite a late couple of big hits from Misbah-ul-Haq (56), the damage had been done: Pakistan soon found the score required passing the 4 and then the 6 runs per ball mark at the end of the match, before Misbah hit the ball to Kohli from the bowling of Zaheer Khan to mark the end of the match with one ball remaining.

Tendulkar was named man of the match for his batting performance.

India will become the second side to play a home ICC Cricket World Cup Final, when they take on Sri Lanka in Mumbai on 2 April – where a seat in the relatively small stadium at Wankhede will be the hottest ticket in town.

Pakistan v India – ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Semi Final Scorecard

India 1st Innings Runs Balls 4s 6s
Sehwag lbw b Riaz 38 25 9 0
Tendulkar c Shahid Afridi b Saeed Ajmal 85 115 11 0
Gambhir st K Akmal b Mohammad Hafeez 27 32 2 0
Kohli c U Akmal b Riaz 9 21 0 0
Yuvraj Singh b Riaz 0 1 0 0
Dhoni lbw b Riaz 25 42 2 0
Raina not out 36 39 3 0
Harbhajan Singh st K Akmal b Saeed Ajmal 12 15 2 0
Z Khan c K Akmal b Riaz 9 10 1 0
Nehra run out (K Akmal) 1 2 0 0
Patel not out 0 0 0 0
Extras 2nb 8w 8lb 18
Total for 9 260 (50.0 ovs)

Pakistan Bowlers O M R W
Gul 8 0 69 0
Razzaq 2 0 14 0
Riaz 10 0 46 5
Saeed Ajmal 10 0 44 2
Shahid Afridi 10 0 45 0
Mohammad Hafeez 10 0 34 1

Pakistan 1st Innings Runs Balls 4s 6s
K Akmal c Yuvraj Singh b Z Khan 19 21 3 0
Mohammad Hafeez c Dhoni b Patel 43 59 7 0
Shafiq b Yuvraj Singh 30 39 2 0
Younus Khan c Raina b Yuvraj Singh 13 32 0 0
Misbah-ul-Haq c Kohli b Z Khan 56 76 5 1
U Akmal b Harbhajan Singh 29 24 1 2
Razzaq b Patel 3 9 0 0
Shahid Afridi c Sehwag b Harbhajan Singh 19 17 1 0
Riaz c Tendulkar b Nehra 8 14 1 0
Gul lbw b Nehra 2 3 0 0
Saeed Ajmal not out 1 5 0 0
Extras 8w 8
Total all out 231 (49.5 ovs)

India Bowlers O M R W
Z Khan 9.5 0 58 2
Nehra 10 0 33 2
Patel 10 1 40 2
Harbhajan Singh 10 0 43 2
Yuvraj Singh 10 1 57 2

India won by 29 runs.

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