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Saturday 3 January 2015

Ind v Pak (Semi final, ICC World Cup 2011)

Venue: Mohali, India

Can it get better? The traditional arch rivals, sub-continent giants clashing in a World Cup semi final !! WOW. The stage was set for a magnificent showdown and the teams didn't disappoint.

Prime ministers of both countries greeted and wished players from either teams before the game. Dignitaries, bureaucrats, film stars, top corporate biggies and who's who from both countries made the game even more electrifying!

#MSDhoni won the toss and elected to bat.
#Sehwag and #Tendulkar provided a stunning start for the Indians. Sehwag smashed #UmarGul for 20 runs in an over. Tendulkar opened from the other end too. 50 struck in no time.

A bowling change did the trick for Pakistan. #WahabRiaz, the lanky left hander trapped Sehwag leg before for 38. #GautamGambhir joined in and run-rate slowed down. #Hafeez flummoxed him in the air and he was stumped for 27. When #ViratKohli and #YuvrajSingh got out of consecutive delivers by Riaz, India were in a spot of bother at 141 for 4.

In the meanwhile, Sachin had quietly crept past 50 (thanks to butterfingers by Pakis on 4 occasions) and holding fort. By the time he departed on 85, Pakistan had staged a comeback and were hoping to keep India under a manageable total.

Some late flurry by Dhoni, #SureshRaina and #Harbhajan helped India reach 260 in their 50 overs, way below par considering the start they had. Wahab Riaz's 5-for a fitting reward for gutsy and disciplined bowling.

But, as they say in big games runs on the board are crucial.
Is 260 enough or Pakistan will easily chase it down considering the superfast Mohali outfield?

Pakistan started their run chase steadily through #KamranAkmal and #MohdHafeez. #ZaheerKhan broke through their partnership with score on 44. Young #AsadShafiq joined Hafeez to take the innings forward. A moment of madness from Hafeez led to his downfall, Yuvraj claimed Shafiq and the ever reliable #YounisKhan and suddenly Pakistan were 106 for 4.

#UmarAkmal and #MisbahUlHaq then put on a partnership and started rebuilding. Umar upped the tempo with some lusty blows. Harbhajan struck at a timely moment for India clean bowling Akmal. #MunafPatel followed suit to get the very dangerous #AbdurRazzaq.

#ShahidAfridi started throwing his bat around while Misbah concentrated on holding his end. The required run rate was creeping up all the time. Something had to give way...

India knocked Afridi, Riaz and Gul to snatch the game away from Pak. Misbah's late heroics only delayed the inevitable. India won the game by 29 runs. Although the margin for victory was comfortable, a India-Pak game is always tense, combative and electrifying.

India moved ahead to the final of the World Cup to play #SriLanka.

MOM: Sachin Tendulkar

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