Aussies pip India by 18 runs; reach final

Published: Friday, September 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kuala Lumpur: Dinesh Mongia's valiant unbeaten 63 went in vain as Indian batting once again collapsed inexplicably and Australia emerged victorious by 18 runs in a must-win tie of the DLF Cup Tri-series here today to set up a title clash with the West Indies on Sunday.

Chasing a modest 214 for victory, the Indian top and lower order failed to withstand Brett Lee's furious pace and Men-in-Blue were left so-near-yet-so-far after being bundled out for 195 in 43.5 overs. Brett Lee took five wickets and only Dinesh Mongia waged a lonely battle (63 off 91 balls) trying to seal Indian win.

Scorecard of Match 6

India began the chase reverting back to the trusted opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Man-in-form Tendulkar hit a four to start off but survived a ferocious appeal in the second over.

Ricky Ponting was again involved in an altercation with umpires as Sachin tried to pull a rising Glenn McGrath delivery but couldn't connect with bat at all. Australia appealed for caught behind and umpire Mark Benson gave him out as well.

However, the umpire retracted his decision and TV replays also showed that the ball had brushed Sachin's forearm.

But Sachin's luck ran out soon when he guided a Brett Lee scorcher straight to point. Lee was spitting fire and he soon met with another success when he had Virender Sehwag clean bowled for 10.

Kaif, promoted to number three, looked in good touch and was middling the ball but he couldn't convert his start and was caught and bowled to Clarke for 21. Skipper Dravid too fell to Clarke leaving India in deep trouble at 50 for four.

It was from here on that Indian middle order showed some resistance led by comeback man Dinesh Mongia. Mongia, fighting to regain his place in side, batted with enough grit and found a partner in Suresh Raina. The two added 46 runs for fifth wicket.

Raina (26) was clean bowled by Hogg and India was left with last recognised pair of Mongia and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni curbed his shots and played along to raise another important partnership with Mongia. The two added 62 runs and put India in a good postion before Dhoni played an ambitous shot that led to India's downfall. The swashbuckling wicketkeeper tried to hit Brett Lee over cover boundary for six but couldn't clear the sweeper.

Wickets started falling like nine pins, and Ajit Agarkar was removed by Brad Hogg while Harbhajan Singh fell to Symonds as the Aussies tightened noose. Brett Lee came clean up the tail and India were all out for 195. Dinesh Mongia was left stranded on 63 off 91 balls.

Earlier, Ajit Agarkar, RP Singh and Harbhajan Singh took two wickets apiece as Australia, after electing to bat first, failed to impress and were bowled out for 213 in 48.1 overs. Australia began their innings with Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich with Agarkar and Munaf Patel moving the ball well under heavy conditions.

Hayden, trying to regain his place in the one-day side, was able to rotate the strike but Katich was circumspect. He hit a superb straight drive for four off Munaf but tried one shot too many and was caught brilliantly by Suresh Raina at point fo nine with the score board reading 36.

The big wicket came soon as the Indians eliminated the Aussie skipper with a set plan. Munaf kept it short and high to Ricky Ponting who fell to the trap and pulled it in the air only to see Agarkar taking a well judged catch at long leg.

Ponting could add only four and Australia were two down for 49.

Hayden held the innings and kept the scoreboard ticking from the other end. He hit occasional boundaries and completed his patient fifty.

The southpaw was looking good but his innings was curtailed when he was found struggling for crease on 54. The Indian fielders were looking very sharp on field and their agility brought another wicket when Damien Martyn too was run out.

Dinesh Mongia, playing for S Sreesanth in this match, bowled a tight line and his efforts were rewarded when he caught Andrew Symonds plumb in front of wicket.

Australia had lost half their side by the time they reached 100.

Spin attack from both the end stifled the Australian scoring and Harbhajan Singh continued his good display in the tournament and was able to purchase sharp turn from the track.

Dangerman Michael Hussey edged Harbhajan to the safe gloves of M S Dhoni to continue the Aussie slide. Harbhajan returned impressive figures of 10-2-24-1.

Brad Hogg hit Virender Sehwag for three consecutive fours in the 38th over that also raised Australia's 150.

Haddin and Hogg added 77 vital runs for seventh wicket before Haddin skied a RP Singh delivery to keeper Dhoni. He made 46 runs in 63 balls with two sixes and four well timed boundaries. Hogg also added 38 before being run out.

The tail couldn't survive till end and Australia was all out for 213 with eleven balls to spare.

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