Ganeshbabu Venkat | 6:04am gmt 24 Mar 2011
What a win, At the end of the day Australia were probably 20 runs short. However India played with panache under pressure. Deserved winners..
At the end of 35 overs
Australia are chipping away with wickets and India's progress toward the target has been smooth sailing until Gautam Gambhir ran himself out. Yuvraj and Gambhir did not learn from the hiccup the previous ball and Gambhir ran himself out the very next ball. Tendulkar batted beautifully for his 53, Gambhir scratched around for a while, but made a determined half century before committing hara-kiri. Virat Kohli showed some flourish before hitting a rank bad full toss straight to Michael Clarke at midwicket for 24 runs. Yuvraj started of brilliantly with two hits to the fence and the Austrlians are still keeping it tight. With the batting power play left and six wickets in hand this promises to be a thriller and should go down the wire. However the crowd of approximately 42000 will not want any result other than an India win. India are 173/4 at the end of 35 overs.
At the end of 16 overs
In pursuit of an above par score of 261 to win the quarters and seal a place in the semis, India started off pretty briskly with Virendar Shewag and Sachin Tendulkar carving boundaries regularly. Both of them played some audacious shots against Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, Which prompted Ponting to bring on Mitchell Johnson and and Watson earlier than expected. Watson bowled short at Shewag who tried to pull it, got a top edge and was caught by Mike Hussey at square leg for 15. Tendulkar played some of his trademark shots through the covers and midwicket of the pacers. It is very clear that the Aussies are going to target the Indian batsmen with Short deliveries because of the way they have been setting fields. However the pitch is still looking good for batting and if the batsman apply themselves should be able to get runs on this wicket. There was a moment of controversy when Ponting claimed a bump ball as a catch and the reviews clearly showed that it was not the case. In that very intriguing passage of play, Tendulkar reached yet another milestone when he became the first to reach the 18K landmark. India are 80/1 in 16 overs.
End of innings update:
Inspired by a superb knock of 104 from 118 balls from Ponting, which received a standing ovation from the crowd, Australia set India a challenging total of 260/6 in 50 overs. Ponting re-discovered some of his pristine touch and played superbly even as his men started falling around him. However he was lucky to survive, for on 91 he appeared plumb in front of the wickets which was turned down by umpire Ian Gould. He hit a magnificent inside out shot of Yuvraj for a six and then played some of his trademark punches down the ground with ?lan ease. Zaheer was the pick of the Indian bowlers as he provided India with wickets whenever he was brought back on. The partisan crowd in Motera would have to be treated to some vintage batting by the Indians, if they are to win this game. This sure promises to be an absorbing contest and whoever can hold their nerve will ultimately emerge triumphant.
At the end of 34 overs:
Ponting reached his highest score of the tournament with a well compiled unbeaten 56 of 73 balls with three boundaries. Clarke fell to the slow spin of Yuvraj and Hussey got out to a peach of a delivery from Zaheer Khan. Dhoni appeared desperate when he threw the ball to Sachin Tendlukar, for good measure Tendulkar turned own ball square aka Shane Warne. The crowd which was quiet for the majority of the period erupted in unison when Tendulkar removed his hat to turn his arm over and immediately the next over Yuvraj and Zaheer combined to dismiss Michael Clarke. Dhoni has been juggling his bowlers like a dealer shuffling his cards and immediately brought back Zaheer in to the attack and it paid off. The Indian fielding has been spot on and if they can maintain this discipline, They should be able to seriously challenge whatever total Australia sets.
At the end of 18 overs:
Australia having won the toss and elected to bat progressed to a healthy 65/1 in 18 overs with Shane Watson the only wicket to fall during that period. Brad Haddin played a solid hand and was severe on Munaf patel and took him to the cleaners with three consecutive boundaries in his first over. R.Ashwin bowled well enough to claim Watson and Harbhajan's wicketless spell continues although he has not been as expensive as the other bowlers. Incidentally the Indian fielders looked sharp out there on the field today. The out of form Ricky Ponting looks set to regain his form and has played the spinners cautiously and even attacking Yuvraj to an extent. With Australia progressing serenely, It appears as though India will have a tough task at hand if they were to progress and meet Pakistan in the semi-finals.
Borrowing Ravi Shastri's famous cliche line " The atmosphere is absolutely electric".The whole of Motera stadium sang the Indian anthem and the crowd wants nothing but an Indian victory. Makes for an interesting game. I hope it lives up to the expectation and hype.
Good day folks!!! Where ever you are. Yet again this is Ganesh giving you live updates from Motera, Ahmedabad. This is billed up as the match of the tournament. India vs Australia is always. However let me remind that India have not beaten Australia in a World Cup for almost 24 years. However in knock out games India have had the better of Australia. The ICC champions trophy in 1998, 2000 and also the 2007 ICC world T20 semi-finals. So India can take some inspiration there. I have got a bird's eyeview of the ground and it's a fantastic view. After a sorry display by West Indies in the first QF yesterday, I hope this can live up to the billing of a high profile clash. Watch this space for regular updates.Read Angi's preview of the quarter finals games here