SK Flashback: India end Australia’s golden World Cup run in 2011 quarterfinal
This was a big challenge for Australia in their quest for a fourth straight World Cup title. Having lost several of their stalwarts over the previous few years, they were now surviving match-by-match.
A washout against Sri Lanka had ended their 25-match winning streak in the World Cup going back to the 1999 final. Then a defeat at the hands of Pakistan in their last league match halted that glorious unbeaten 34-match World Cup spell.
They were up against huge odds as they took on a classy Indian team that was eager to wrest the crown on home turf.
Shane Watson and Brad Haddin got off to a sound start as off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin partnered Zaheer Khan with the new ball. Watson found the boundary regularly, while Haddin broke free with a sweetly-timed six off Ashwin over long-on.
The other off-spinner Harbhajan Singh came on but Ashwin castled Watson as he tried to sweep. Watson had struck 5 fours in his 25.
Skipper Ricky Ponting walked in and soon the pair slammed a flurry of boundaries. Haddin raised his fifty off 57 deliveries but in trying to attack Yuvraj Singh mistimed a drive, and Suresh Raina took a diving catch.
As Ponting cruised, Michael Clarke became another Yuvraj victim, swinging across the line, only to hole out to Zaheer.
Ponting raised his half-century in 67 balls. He slammed a six and a four in Yuvraj’s last over but Zaheer struck two quick blows.
As David Hussey waded into the bowling, Ponting hoisted his fifth hundred in the World Cup, and 30th in One-day Internationals, spanning 113 deliveries. He perished soon, reverse-sweeping Ashwin - the third catch of the match for Zaheer.
It was a superb innings in a game of immense significance for his team; the 118-ball essay comprised 7 fours and a six. Australia logged a formidable 260 for six.
India got off to a confident start against the pacers. Virender Sehwag drove Brett Lee through the covers into the fence, and Sachin Tendulkar struck two off-side boundaries off Shaun Tait to electrify the Motera crowd.
Just when the Indian fans began to relax, Sehwag mistimed a pull and was gone for 15. Gautam Gambhir, however, was a determined partner to the maestro, who carved consecutive boundaries on either side of the wicket off Mitchell Johnson.
Tendulkar raised his 18,000th run in One-day Internationals before getting to his fifty off 61 deliveries. The partnership touched the half-century mark but Tendulkar was soon caught behind off Tait. He had stroked 7 boundaries in his 53 off 68 balls.
Virat Kohli combined in a useful stand with Gambhir. Then, amid some uncertain running with Yuvraj, Gambhir brought up his fifty off 53 balls, and was run out - as seemed imminent.
Captain MS Dhoni departed early, but India began to canter away when Raina joined Yuvraj. Three magnificent boundaries in a Lee over set the tone, before the speedster dived to stop a Yuvraj boundary and got cut near his right eye.
Yuvraj reached his half-century in 54 balls. India took the batting Powerplay only in the 46th over and the valiant Lee was back with the ball, bandage over his injury. Raina promptly tonked him over long-on for a six. Finally, Yuvraj slammed Lee through the covers to end a golden era in Australian cricket.
It was a team effort from India, the jubilant duo having added 74 in 10.1 overs. A forlorn Ponting could only remark, “That’s the game of cricket. It didn’t matter what I did. Today was all about the team and how we played, and as a group of players we came up short."
Australia: 260 for six wickets (50 overs), India: 261 for five wickets (47.4 overs) (CWC 2011)