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India’s title defence ends in heartbreak, Aussies enter final


Australia beat India by 95 runs in World Cup semis

Sydney: India’s superb run in the World Cup came to an inglorious end when they surrendered meekly to Australia, losing by 95 runs in the semifinals here today with neither bowling nor batting clicking when it mattered the most.

The tame surrender of the defending champions before the crowd of 45,000, many of whom had travelled all the way from India, came as an anti-climax to the team’s outstanding performance which had seen them win seven consecutive matches in the tournament. Australia will now meet New Zealand in the final in Melbourne on Sunday.

The four-time champions rode on Steve Smith’s classy 105 to post an imposing 328/7 before bundling out India for 233 in 46.5 overs.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (65, 65 balls) stood tall amid a disappointing batting show as he waged a lone battle to take India past the 200-run mark and make a match of it despite the steep asking rate. At the top, Shikhar Dhawan was another notable performer with 45-run knock.

The Indians had themselves to blame for the loss as the bowling unit, which had performed admirably till now, failed to deliver when it mattered the most while the batting also crumbled under pressure.

The jubilant Aussies broke into wild celebrations after Mitchell Starc castled Umesh Yadav (0) to dismiss the last Indian batsman in the 47th over. Home captain Michael Clarke was composed though as he shook hands with the Indians and acknowledged the Aussie supporters, who had interestingly been outnumbered by Indian fans today.

Set a record run chase, the first 300-plus score in a World Cup semifinal, the Indians started off with a flourish with Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (34, 48 balls) adding 76 runs for the first wicket in 12.5 overs.

But Dhawan’s dismissal proved crucial as the runs dried up in the face of a determined effort by a fired up Australian pace battery.

Mitchell Johnson (2/50), Mitchell Starc (2/28) and Josh Hazlewood (1/41) put the fancied Indian line-up under immense pressure as wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals.

Despite today’s heartbreak, India put up a commendable effort in defending the title after a horror tour of Australia prior to the mega-event after which not many experts of the game had given the team a chance.

Brief Scores:

Australia: 328/7 in 50 overs (Steve Smith 105, Aaron Finch 81, Umesh Yadav 4/72).

India: 233 all out in 46.5 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 45, Ajinkya Rahane 44, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 65; James Faulkner 3-59, Mitchell Johnson 2-50, Mitchell Starc 2-28).

Scoreboard: India vs. Australia

Aaron Finch    c Dhawan b Yadav   81
David Warner    c Kohli b Yadav  12
Steve Smith     c RG Sharma b Yadav  105
Glenn Maxwell       c Rahane b Ashwin  23
Shane Watson   c Rahane b MM Sharma  28
Michael Clarke    c RG Sharma b MM Sharma  10
James Faulkner        b Yadav  21
Brad Haddin     not out   07
Mitchell Johnson     not out  27

Extras (B 1, LB 7, W 6)    14

Total (7 wickets; 50 overs)    328

Fall of wickets 1-15, 2-197, 3-232, 4-233, 5-248, 6-284, 7-298

Bowling: Mohammed Shami    10-0-68-0, Umesh Yadav    9-0-72-4, Mohit Sharma    10-0-75-2, Virat Kohli    1-0-7-0, Ravindra Jadeja 10-0-56-0, R Ashwin 10-0-42-1.

India innings (target: 329 runs from 50 overs)

Rohit Sharma          b Johnson 34
Shikhar Dhawan c Maxwell b Hazlewood   45
Virat Kohli   c Haddin b Johnson   01
Ajinkya Rahane          c Haddin b Starc  44
Suresh Raina          c Haddin b Faulkner 07
Mahendra Singh Dhoni      run out      65
Ravindra Jadeja         run out 16
Ravichandran Ashwin         b Faulkner   05
Mohammed Shami               not out  01
Mohit Sharma               b Faulkner  00    
Umesh Yadav              b Starc   00

Extras: (LB-8 W-5 NB-2)                     15

Total: (All out in 46.5 overs)           233

Fall of wickets: 1/76 2/78 3/91 4/108 5/178 6/208 7/231 8/232 9/232

Bowling: Mitchell Starc 8.5-0-28-2, Josh Hazlewood 10-1-41-1, Mitchell Johnson 10-0-50-2, James Faulkner 9-1-59-3, Glenn Maxwell 5-0-18-0, Shane Watson 4-0-29-0.

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