Wednesday, March 30, 2011

India defeated Pakistan to reach World Cup Final 2011

Scorecard
India extended its unbeaten streak in World Cups over Pakistan to five matches as MS Dhoni's team defeated Shahid Afridi's boys by 29 runs in the second semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup at Mohali tonight to set up a final clash with Sri Lanka on April 2.
dhoni and sachin after defeating pakistan in world cup semifinal 2011
Chasing a target of 261, Pakistan was never in the hunt as they lost wickets at regular intervals even as only Misbah-ul-Haq scored a half-century and they were eventually bowled out for 231 in 49.5 overs.
Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez got Pakistan's run chase of 261 off to a steady start without taking too many risks, before the wicket keeper-batsman chased a full Zaheer Khan delivery outside off stump as he tried to play his favourite shot, the square drive. Instead, he only succeeded in slicing a catch to Yuvraj Singh at point to give India a much-needed breakthrough in the ninth over courtesy its most consistent bowler after Pakistan's openers had got 44 runs on the board.indian team after defeating pakistan in world cup semifinal 2011
Hafeez and Asad Shafiq then took on the task of getting Pakistan back on track and were hardly troubled by either Munaf Patel or Ashish Nehra ( a surprise inclusion in place of R Ashwin), who despite keeping the runs in check didn't look threatening enough to take a wicket. In fact, if it weren't for a brain freeze moment on Hafeez's part, who looked comfortable and had scored 43 including seven hits to the fence despite hardly taking any risks, chose to play a paddle sweep off Munaf and only managed to get an edge to Dhoni behind the stumps as both Pakistan's openers gifted away their wickets.
The onus then fell on Shafiq, who rotated the strike and looked good in the middle, and the experienced Younis Khan to get Pakistan back on track, but Yuvraj made up for his failure with the bat by dismissing both the batsmen in consecutive overs to shift the advantage back India's way. While Yuvraj clean bowled Shafiq (30) with a straight ball, he had Younis caught at cover by Suresh Raina with Pakistan 106 for 4 in the 26th over. Yuvraj (2-57) played the role of the fifth bowler and while he was a tad expensive, he did the job that was asked of him.
Younis has been a consistent performer against India, but in this crunch match he failed to get going and continued his poor form in the 2011 World Cup as he failed to rotate the strike and struggled to a painstaking 32-ball 13. Umar Akmal then tried his best to get Pakistan back into the match even as the required rate started to climb thanks to the slow going on the part of Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq. Umar did hit two massive sixes in his 24-ball 29 before he played all over an Harbhajan Singh arm ball to be clean bowled, and then Munaf, who impressed as the match went on, got into the act too as he cleaned up Abdul Razzaq with an excellent slower ball to leave Pakistan gasping at 150 for 6 in the 37th over.
The final nail in the coffin was delivered when Afridi (19 in 17 balls) gave an easy catch to Virender Sehwag at cover off a high Harbhajan full toss with Pakistan 184 for 7 in the 42nd over. Nehra, who mixed things nicely up towards the end of the match then had Riaz caught at cover and then trapped Umar Gul LBW, the decision of which was upheld on review. Misbah, who was last man out for 56 caught at midwicket by Virat Kohli, did his best to get Pakistan back into the match in the batting power play, but it was too little and too late for Afridi's team and they really have themselves to blame for leaving the batting power play so inexplicably late in their innings and letting the match get out of their grasp in the middle overs. Misbah did try to increase his scoring run rate in the end, but his slow and tedious going early in his innings all but ensured Pakistan would have a mountain to climb. All of India's bowlers took two wickets each, but Nehra (2-33), Munaf (2-40) and Harbhajan (2-43) did well.
Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar didn't get to his 100th international century, and probably that was for the best, because this innings was far from being the in-control knocks that he has played for most of his career. Even then, Tendulkar top-scored with 85 in India's total of 260 for 9, but had the butter-fingers of Misbah-ul-aq, Younis and the Akmal brothers to score those many runs in the first place, and, in the final analysis, it would come back to haunt Pakistan.
Tendulkar was on 27 when Misbah dropped a catch at short-mid wicket off Afridi; and when on 45, Younis dropped a straightforward chance at mid-off with Afridi again being the unfortunate bowler. The Indian batting legend had earlier been adjudged out LBW by umpire Ian Gould off Saeed Ajmal when he was on 23, but the decision was overturned on review, as the ball would have just missed the leg stump; and off the very next ball the third umpire ruled Tendulkar not out following a stumping appeal by Kamran Akmal.
Tendulkar did hit some of his trademark boundaries in his knock, but for the most part it was a patchy and chancy innings, and at times it appeared he wasn't really enjoying being out in the middle. Tendulkar though rotated the strike and strung together partnerships of some accord with Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli for the second and third wickets even as he brought up yet another half-century, this one off 67 balls when he hit an Afridi delivery over extra cover for a boundary. He was then to be given two more reprieves when Kamran failed to hold on to an edge off an Afridi delivery, and then again on 81 when the wicket-keeper's younger brother Umar failed to hold on to a catch at short mid-wicket despite leaping and getting both his hands to a checked drive off Mohammad Hafeez.
Indian captain MS Dhoni earlier won the toss and elected to bat and the Indian innings got off to an electrifying start courtesy Sehwag, who hit five boundaries off the third over of the match bowled by Pakistan's spearhead Umar Gul, who leaked 41 runs in his first four overs. Sehwag's breezy 25-ball 38, which contained nine hits to the fence, was brought to an end by the impressive Riaz, who trapped the Indian opener plumb in front with a short of length delivery. Sehwag challenged umpire Simon Taufel's decision without consulting Tendulkar, and it turned out to be an unnecessary review in the end.
Tendulkar and Gambhir then added 68 runs for the second wicket at almost a run a ball, with the southpaw looking more at ease than his senior partner, who found the going tough, especially against Ajmal. But, just when it looked as though Gambhir (27) and Tendulkar would take India to a position of strength, the former was stumped by Kamran off a flighted Hafeez delivery with the score 116 for 2 in the 19th over. Virat Kohli, who had an excellent start to the 2011 World Cup, has struggled for runs in recent matches, and that trend continued in the semi-finals where he looked ill at ease before Riaz had him caught by Umar at backward point and the left-arm pacer gave Pakistan more reason to celebrate off the very next delivery when he castled Yuvraj Singh with a full swinging delivery as India's in-form batsman walked back to the pavilion for a first-ball duck even as the co-hosts slipped to 141 for 4 from 116 for 2.
Dhoni had said before the match that his form wasn't a concern, but the manner in which he struggled during his 42-ball 25 belied the confidence the skipper had in his own form. In all, Dhoni played 25 dot balls in his innings, an apt reflection of his struggles at the crease, and the two boundaries he hit were edged through the vacant slip region. At the other end, meanwhile, Tendulkar continued to lead a charmed life, before he was finally caught by Afridi off Ajmal with the score 187 for 5 in 37 overs. Tendulkar's 115-ball 85 contained 11 boundaries, but also included a massive 71 dot balls.
Riaz (5-46) then returned to dismiss Dhoni and Zaheer as he picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in one-day internationals even as Suresh Raina played a lone hand in the lower middle-order with a 39-ball 36 that gave the Indian innings some impetus in the batting power play in which India scored 43 runs for the loss of Harbhajan Singh's wicket who was stumped off Ajmal. While Riaz impressed, Gul struggled in his second spell as well and eventually Pakistan spearhead's failed for the first time in the World Cup, albeit in an important match, and had figures of 8-0-69-0. Afridi failed to take any wickets, but Hafeez (1-34) was the most economical of Pakistan's bowlers and kept things in the middle overs.
But, in the end, India did enough to maintain their dominance over Pakistan in World Cups and give the full house in Mohali a lot to cheer about. All eyes will now be focused at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, where either India or Sri Lanka will win their second World Cup title.

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