India beat Pakistan to reach final
Mohali, India – India's cricketers kept alive the dreams of billion fans after beating Pakistan by 29 runs in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-final on Wednesday to set up a grand final against Sri Lanka.
The home side made 260-9 and then returned to bowl out their neighbours for 231 in 49.5 overs to spark jubilant celebrations among the more than 28,000 fans at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
Opting to bat first, India got off to a rollicking start and Sachin Tendulkar (85) was missed four time by the Pakistani fielders. However left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz (5-46) restricted them to a manageable total and kept Pakistan in the match.
Pakistan got off to a decent start too but losing wickets at regular intervals denied them any significant partnerships and batsmen such as Mohammad Hafeez (43) and Asad Shafiq (30) were out at critical stages in the in the chase.
Misbah-ul-Haq (56) offered some late resistance but the moment he heaved the ball high into the air, only to see it fall into Virat Kohli’s hands, a deafening roar shook the jam-packed stadium and reverberated around the rest of the country.
For India, Yuvraj Singh (2-57) made amends for his first ball “duck”, while Harbhajan Singh (2-43), Ashish Nehra (2-33), Zaheer Khan (2-58) and Munaf Patel (2-40) also impressed with the ball.
After a poor first spell Zaheer returned to remove Akmal but Hafeez and Shafiq maintained the good work until Yuvraj removed Shafiq and Younus Khan in successive overs to change the match.
After India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had opted to bat first, openers Virender Sehwag (38) tore apart the Pakistani attack during a 25-ball cameo.
Riaz brought some relief in the Pakistan camp, removing the swashbuckling opener for the first of his five victims but not before his sloppy team mates gave a poor account of themselves on the field.
Afridi eventually took the catch to remove Tendulkar, who had earlier used a review to successful overturn an lbw decision that had gone against him, who fell 15 run short of his 100th international century.