Australia ended the reiging champions’ unbeaten run at the World Cup with a 95-run victory yesterday that ensured the tournament co-hosts will meet in the final.
Steve Smith scored 105 and shared a 182-run partnership with Aaron Finch (81) to help Australia post 328-7 against India, a record for a World Cup knockout match.
India started their chase confidently, with openers Shikhar Dhawan (45) and Rohit Sharma (34) surviving early scares to get the total to 76 in the 13th over, before Josh Hazlewood broke through to change the momentum of the innings.
Mitchell Johnson chimed in with two quick wickets and India was eventually out for 233, despite Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s late cameo of 65.
Australia will play unbeaten New Zealand in Sunday’s title match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
New Zealand edged Australia by one wicket in the pool stage to finish at the top of Pool A, then beat South Africa with a ball to spare in their semi-final in Auckland, New Zealand.
“To play a World Cup final against New Zealand at the MCG is going to be absolutely amazing,” Smith said. “Hopefully, another hundred would be nice.”
India had won 11 consecutive World Cup matches dating back to a pool-stage loss to South Africa in 2011.
They finished off the previous tournament with wins over the West Indies, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and then won their first seven matches in this year’s edition, becoming the only team to bowl out the opposition every time.
India had the majority of the support in the crowd with a huge contingent of traveling fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but were unable to capitalize at a venue where they have only once previously beaten Australia in a one-day international.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat, and the India pacemen started well, with Mohammed Shami beating the edge twice in the opening over and bowling a maiden in the third.
Umesh Yadav (four for 72) dismissed David Warner (12) to have Australia in trouble at 15-1 in the fourth over.
That brought Smith to the crease and he picked up where he left off in the pre-World Cup matches against India.
He scored a century in each of the four matches in the Test series and 47 in a one-day international during a stretch of two months when India did not win a match on Australian soil.
His second-wicket partnership with Finch gave Australia a flying start and a solid foundation, before India rallied with Yadav removing them both in quick succession.
Smith faced 93 balls, hitting 11 four and two sixes before Yadav struck with the first ball of his second spell, making the score 197-2 in the 35th over.
Finch continued with Glenn Maxwell, who belted 23 from 13 balls before sweeping Ravi Ashwin straight to Ajinkya Rahane at deep square-leg.
Yadav dismissed Finch in the next over and then Michael Clarke (10) was out to Mohit Sharma, slowing the Australia strike rate right down.
Shane Watson (28), James Faulkner (21) and Mitchell Johnson, who hit 27 from nine balls, contributed late to help Australia become the first team to post a 300-plus total in a World Cup semi-final.
“Smitty [Smith] is hitting the ball so sweetly and I was so proud of the execution of our bowlers,” Australia skipper Clarke said.
“I think that loss to New Zealand gave us a kick up the backside. I still don’t think we’ve played the perfect game yet. We know it’s going to be tough against New Zealand,” he said.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7