Sydney, March 26:
Powered by a 182-run stand between Steven Smith (105) and Aaron Finch (81), Australia reached a strong total of 328/7 in 50 overs against India in the second cricket World Cup semifinal at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Thursday.
The significant second-wicket partnership proved to be the difference between a modest and a big total with Smith scoring his fourth One-Day International (ODI) century to post the first 300 plus total in a World Cup semifinal.
Looking at the way the hosts were going, the defending champions did well in the end to drag Australia back from the time they looked like getting anything above 350.
India started well with pacer Umesh Yadav (4-72) taking big-hitter David Warner’s wicket in only the fourth over. But thereon, Smith and Finch more or less put the match in favour of Australia with that magnificent partnership.
Opener Finch was slow but managed to stick it out in the middle to score seven boundaries and one six in his 116-ball knock. He provided good support to Smith, who smashed his way to hit 11 fours and two sixes in his 93-ball innings.
India pulled things back as Yadav, Mohit Sharma (2-75) and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (1-42) took four quick wickets. Despite this, the four-time champions maintained the flow, scoring almost a run-a-ball.
A couple of brilliant cameos at the end from James Faulkner (21) and Mitchell Johnson (27 not out) helped Australia hammer 89 runs off the last 10 overs, despite losing two more wickets.
All Indian bowlers, who have proved to be the team’s main reason for success in the tournament, were expensive against the explosive Australian batsmen. Though Yadav picked up his second consecutive four-wicket haul, he went for eight per over.
Ashwin was the most economic bowler giving away only 42 runs from his 10 overs and also taking a wicket.
For statistics freaks, Australia have never lost a World Cup semifinal, winning five and tying one. IANS