Sports Desk BeyondHeadlines
Mohali: In a close match, one who holds the nerve wins. India has stormed into the final of the world cup with 29 runs victory over arch rival Pakistan in Mohali.
India will now face the Sri Lanka in Mumbai on April 2.
India had put up 260 runs on the score board with the loss of nine wickets. The master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 85 runs, was adjudged the Man of the Match. He, however, made this after four missed catches and fell short of scoring his 100th international century. Wahab Riaz had done most of the damages to India taking 5 wickets while giving away only 46 runs.
In the high octane match, the opening partnership between Kamran Akmal and Hafeez had put pressure on Indian bowlers and for some time the crowd had fairly been silenced. But Zaheer struck his first with when Akmal flashed a square-drive at Zaheer Khan into the hands of Yuvraj Singh at point. The late rally by Misbah-ul-Haq (56 runs) too did not help much.
In the middle match was tight with fair chances for both teams. But at the end Pakistan were all out on 231 with one ball still to go.
But as the asking rate kept rising alarmingly, middle order batsmen crumbled trying to keep Pakistan in contention.
Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi had all the praise for the winning side. “India played well. They deserve all the credit. We made a lot of mistakes in the match. We fielded poorly; we dropped too many catches. Poor shot selection while batting also let us down. 260 was gettable but we lacked partnerships and that’s why we lost the match. We could not handle the pressure as well as India did,” Afridi said in the post match media briefing.
India, however, has to worry before the final as their middle order batsmen are not in their best form and captain Dhoni too is not flaring up.