Fresh from the Yuvraj blitzkrieg against England, India faced a must-win game against South Africa to qualify for the Twenty20 World Cup semifinals. India scored 153 in their 20 overs despite some early setbacks. The star of the Indian innings was the promising debutant Rohit Sharma who scored a magnificent 50 under pressure. South Africa were never in the chase, losing too many wickets for too few runs. R.P.Singh was the bowling hero picking up 4 wickets for 16 only! Dinesh Karthik took a stunning catch to dismiss Graeme Smith. South Africa batted so badly that they couldn’t even make the 126 needed to qualify for the finals.Pity that with their first loss, they’re out of the tournament while Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and India with one or more losses made it to the semis. Poor South Africa keep finding ways to exit a major tournament!
The semifinal against Australia was supposed to be a humdinger and it lived up to the billing. Yuvraj once again was the star, scoring 70 priceless runs in just 30 Australian deliveries continuing his six-hitting spree. India scored 189 runs in their innings.
Australia began their chase earnestly, scoring runs at a rapid pace before Gilchrist played all over a Sreesanth inswinger and had his stump uprooted. Brad Hodge scored some valuable runs with Hayden before he was out. In came Andrew Symonds and both the batsmen started hitting the balls out of the ground almost every ball that the asking rate dropped to 7 an over and an Australian victory was on cards But Sreesanth, returning to complete his quotam had other ideas. He uprooted Hayden’s stump and Pathan cleaned up Symonds. Indians had a chance to win the game. Australia required 30 off the last 3 overs with Clarke on strike.Harbhajan yorked his leg stump and the asking rate was climbing fast. Harbhajan bowled a splendid over and RP Singh bowled a great penultimate over conceding virtually nothing. One over and 22 runs required. Dhoni turned to his most expensive and inexperienced bowler Joginder Sharma. A few eyebrows were raised but Joginder bowled a good over and got the wicket of ‘Mr.Cricket’ Hussey and the World Champions over knocked out. This memorable Indian victory set up a most unlikely and most exciting final between India and Pakistan. Winning is the way to go!