26 March 2015
Australia v India – the 7 moments that defined the 2nd Semi-Final
A look at the key moments that decided this crunch semi-final between Australia and India
Johnson provided Australia with a late flurry of 27-not-out off nine balls to see the team to 328-6.
Now, a show down with New Zealand in Melbourne awaits Australia, with prize a fifth World Cup trophy.
Here are the key moments that decided this crunch semi-final between the co-host and India:
1. Sublime Smith strikes again
Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav made an excellent start for India, immediately causing the Australian openers problems with their pace.
David Warner was the early victim, falling for 12, placing the pressure on Aaron Finch, who had looked out of touch since a century in Australia’s tournament opener, and Steve Smith, who came into the match in very good touch.
What followed was another effortless innings from Smith, who again looked on a different plane while working his way to a fourth ODI century, while Finch put together a well-earned 81 off 116 balls.
Their partnership of 182 for the second wicket laid the foundation for Australia of a batting-friendly wicket and when Smith departed in the 35th over, a total higher than 350 and even approaching 400 was not out of the question.
2. Quick one, two
The loss of Glenn Maxwell and Finch in quick succession, in addition to tight bowling from spinner Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, turned the match in India’s favour at the 39-over mark.
Maxwell, as he has all tournament, looked threatening as he plundered 23 off 14 before sweeping to deep backward square led, while Finch was set and looked to be on his way to a ton when he looped a shot to mid-wicket.
Suddenly, Australia had two new batsmen at the crease at the crunch time of the innings, when quick runs were needed to build a significant total.
The run-rate slowed and Australia’s lower order was left with plenty of work do to before the end of the innings.
3. No.9 steps up
When the death overs approached and Australia needed runs to ensure a difficult total for India, it was expected the finisher, James Faulkner, might be the one to step up and provided the hasty knock needed.
But when Faulkner departing for 21, bowled by Yadav, it was left to Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson to step up.
Haddin can provide fireworks when required but on this occasion is was the paceman, known for being more than handy with the bat, who provided with a late flurry of 27-not-out off nine balls to see Australia to 328-6.
4. Chances, a drop
India’s run chase began with its share of drama as Shikhar Dhawan set about giving his team the best start possible.
First, an appeal for catch at slip which was sent upstairs to the third umpire to see whether it did indeed bounce between reaching the hands of Shane Watson, before inconclusive footage gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt.
Then three overs later, an edge from Dhawan flew towards Watson but it was Brad Haddin who went for the chance, leaping to his left but failing to grasp the ball in his gloves.
Dhawan made the most of the life, hitting six fours and a magnificent flick over square leg for six on his way to 45 off 41 balls. It was the start India needed with a big run chase ahead of it and the large legion of India fans at the SCG were ecstatic.
5. Johnson fires up
After the first wicket fell, the hopes of India rested squarely on the shoulders of the fourth-ranked ODI batsman in the world, Virat Kohli.
The value of the Kohli cannot be underestimated, with the batsman a key for India in run chases, having scored 13 tons when batting second in ODIs.
Needless to say, when Kohli took on a Johnson bouncer and sent top-edge high into the gloves of Haddin, the Australian players and fans began to feel the game turn in their favour.
That feeling became stronger two overs later when Johnson removed another danger man, Rohit Sharma, with a cross-seamer that cleaned up the opener’s stumps.
6. Who heard that?
When Ajinkya Rahane swiped at a Faulkner ball in the 37th over, there was minimal interest from Australia’s fielders after it went through to Haddin.
That is, except for Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith, who received top grades for excellent hearing after requesting a review.
Snicko revealed the faintest of edges and Rahane headed back to the rooms, giving Australia the vital breakthrough it needed.
It broke a 70-run partnership between Rahane and Dhoni and although there was still hope for India as long as the skipper remained at the crease, this vital win from Maxwell edged Australia slightly closer to victory.
7. Australia right on target
The run rate was climbing for India as it entered the crucial final 10 overs of the run chase, but renowned finisher Dhoni batting there was a sense he could still produce something special to steal the match from Australia.
But that pressure became all the greater after a brilliant direct hit from man of the moment Steve Smith sent Ravindra Jadeja packing.
It left Dhoni the only batting hope left for the defending champions and all the while, the run rate continued to climb.
Risks needed to be taken and every chance taken, but a quick single proved the undoing of Dhoni as Maxwell produced a second Australian direct hit and the seventh wicket fell.
From there, James Faulkner and Mitch Starc cleaned up the loose ends, taking the final three wickets for one run to see Australia through to a Trans-Tasman World Cup final.
One of those pesky incidentals is mopping up the end of an innings, and it was a combination of Australia’s relentless hours spent in pursuit of fielding perfection that ensured that happened.
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