The second quarterfinal was a day-night match played at Motera, Gujarat, India between Australia and India on Thursday, March 24, 2011. Australia included David Hussey in place of Steven Smith. India too similarly had one change from their previous match 11 with Virender Sehwag chipping in, in place of Yusuf Pathan.
Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. Some interesting statistics about the past matches here on this ground show that that probability of the team winning the match playing second in a day-night match is higher. Aussies started cautiously with their openers Brad Haddin and Shane Watson playing not too hastily and trying to provide some stability in initial overs. In the first six overs, Australia was 24 for no loss.
R Ashwin got the first wicket for India on the last ball of innings’ 10th over when he got Watson clean bowled at his score of 25 and Australi’a total of 40. That was Ashwin’s fifth over. Captain Ricky Ponting joined Haddin on crease. It was Yuvraj in inning’s 23rd over when he got Haddin caught by Raina at his score of 53 and Australia were 110 for the loss of two wickets. Third wicket for India came in shape of Michael Clarke who was caught by Zaheer Khan bowled by Yuvraj Singh at 8. Australia were 140 for loss of 3 wickets in 31st over of the game.
Australia’s fourth wicket went in the form of Michael Hussey who was clean bowled superbly by Zaheer Khan at his score of 3 and innings total at 150 in 34th over. Next to go was Cameron White exactly after 40 runs added in the innings total when he gave a simple return catch to Zaheer at his score of 12. Australia by then was reduced to 190 for the loss of 5 wickets in the 42nd over. Ponting made a superb century but got out in the 49th over bowled by Ashwin caught by Zaheer at his score of 104. Australia was 245 for a loss of 6 wickets.
Finally, at the end of 50 allotted overs, Australia made 260 runs at a loss of 6 wickets. David Hussey proved his worth by playing a good knock of 38 in 26 balls with 3 fours and 1 six. Ashwin, Yuvraj and Zaheer shared two wickets each.
Indian innings started well with Sehwag and Tendulkar coming as openers. Tendulkar has started using a new bat after discarding his old bat that he used for a long period. Sehwag used to wear number 44 at the back of his t-shirt. Some numerologist advised him that number 44 with a total 8 is not suitable for him. That is why Sehwag was wearing a t-shirt without any number. But 44 proved bad for him even then. It was innings total 44 when he got out at his individual score of 15. Prior to that, Australia had used one review against Sehwag that was nullified.
Tendulkar completed 18000 runs and was heading for his 100th century in ODIs but got out at 53. That was his 93rd half century.
It was a memorable day for captain Mahender Singh Dhoni, who was leading his team for 100th ODI. Virat Kohli couldn’t do much and got out early. India’s 150 came in 30th over of their game. At that time Gambhir was heading towards his half century at 43.
Gambhir completed his 24th ODI and 9th World Cup 50 in the 33rd over. Yuvraj paced up scoring after he joined Gambhir at the departure of Kohli. Gambhir was next to go at 50 when he got run out. The gap between runs required and balls left to play was coming closer. It was almost 90 runs required in 96 balls. Pitch was not at all easy for batsmen. Bowlers were having an upper edge. Required run rate was incrementing gradually thereby increasing pressure on the Indian batting line.
Brett Lee got hurt at the boundary while fielding a hit from Yuvraj in an effort to save a boundary. Lee’s right eyebrow was bleeding so profusely that he got bandaged and came back to field to complete his balance of 3 overs.
It was a match full of hope and despair for both teams at different moments of time between world number one and world number two teams. Required run rate that had spiked to almost 6 per over was brought down with brilliant effort of Yuvraj and Suresh Raina. Yuvraj made 50 in 54 balls and kept Indian hopes alive. India required 24 runs from 32 balls. Partnership of 50 runs between the two came in just 48 balls. Raina hit first six of the innings in the 46th over of the game.
Finally, it was Yuvraj who once again became the saviour for his team and drove India to victory with his brilliant knock of unbeaten 57 made in 65 balls while Raina remained not out at 34 made in 28 balls. India won the match by 5 wickets when Yuvraj sealed Australia’a fate with a 4 with 14 balls still to go. The partnership of 74 from 61 balls came between the two for the sixth wicket. This will be the last World Cup tournament for Tendulkar and Ponting (and also quite a few players from other countries).
It will be India versus Pakistan in the first semifinal to be played at Mohali, India. It was the world number two team that took over the second quarterfinal from the world number one team. Yuvraj got his fourth man of the match in this tournament.
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