Ahmedabad, March 24: India overcame some nervous moments to reach home by 5 wickets in a close quarterfinal encounter with Australia. After some stutters along the way, a cool Yuvraj Singh (57*) and Suresh Raina (34*) took India home with with an unbeaten 74-run stand (gallery). Noteworthy innings from Sachin Tendulkar (53) and Gautam Gambhir (50) helped India's cause (scorecard).
After India reached 123/2 in 25 overs, the batsman at the crease - Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir - pressed ahead, taking singles at ease from the spinners. But in the 29th over, Hussey tempted Kohli with a full-toss and the batsman hit it straight into the hands of Michael Clarke at midwicket. Kohli had to walk for 24 off 33 balls and India were 143/3 in 28.3 overs (video).
India seemed to be moving along well at 168/3 when Gambhir had a moment of madness, attempting a single three times when it was just not there. He was finally run out for 50 off 64 balls and India were 168/4 in 33.2 overs with captain Dhoni the new man at the crease.
But Dhoni didn't last long, getting caught at point off Lee for 7 as India slid to 187/5 in 37.3 overs. Then Yuvraj picked a four off Tait and Raina pulled Lee for another boundary to relieve the pressure a tad. Later in the over, Yuvraj got Lee away fine for another two fours to take India past 200. The momentum had clearly swung India's way as Tait bowled 5 wides in the 41st over.
At the end of that over, India needed 41 runs off 54 balls to win. Then Krejza conceded just 2 runs off the 42nd over before Watson leaked 7 runs off the 43rd.
Then in the 45th over, Yuvraj ran a double to bring up his half-century and the 50-run partnership. India needed 22 runs of the last five overs. India were obliged to the batting powerplay at that stage. But Raina greeted it with a six off Lee first ball. Then in the 48th over, Yuvraj blasted a four off Lee to win India the match by 5 wickets with 14 balls left.
India's innings got off to a quick start. Virender Sehwag got Brett Lee away for a four in the third ball and then in the second, Tendulkar tucked into a wayward Shaun Tait, getting him away for two fours. In the 4th over, Sehwag whip-lashed Tait for a boundary in front of square, as India moved onto 26/0 in 4 overs. Sehwag was taking a bit of back seat to Sachin's aggressiveness.
The Little Master got Watson and JOhnson away for a four each in the 7th and 8t overs as India climbed to 44/0 in 8 overs. But then Watson surprised Sehwag with a shorter delivery which he pulled shabbily into the hands of the on-side fielder.
Sehwag was on his way for 15 off 22 balls and India were 44/1 in 8.1 overs. But Tendulkar shirked off the pressure with a four later in the same over. The batsman then took a single off Johnson to bring up the Indian 50. In the 12th over, Tendulkar went after the same bowler, flicking him away for one four and cutting him for another.
In the 17th over, Sachin ran a double off Tait to bring up his half-century. In the next over, Gambhir slapped Jason Krejza for a boundary to bring up the 50-run partnership. But in the following over, Tait had Tendulkar caught behind for 53 off 68 and India were 94/2 in 18.1 overs.
Gambhir then ran a single off Krejza to take India to 100/2 in 19.3 overs. The new batsman Virat Kohli began consolidating with Gambhir, pushing for ones and twos and taking India to 123/2 in 25 overs.