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Borderly love: India’s hopes now rest on Pakistan

cricket Updated: Sep 29, 2009 10:48 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The rains that were predicted accurately arrived at 5.40pm on Monday, disappointing everyone but the weatherman who got it right. Australia, after choosing to bat, were 234 for 4 from 42.3 overs and were just getting ready to launch a final assault when the match was called off.

India and Australia took home a point each and the result meant that Pakistan became the first team from Group A to

What now?

*As the match could not be completed, Australia and India got 1 point apiece.

*For India to now reach the semifinals, Pakistan must beat Australia and then, India must beat the West Indies with a superior net run rate.

qualify for the semifinals. For India to make the cut now, Pakistan must beat Australia on Wednesday and India have to get past West Indies later on the same day with a better net run rate than Australia.

Ashish Nehra picked up from where he left off in the last game, hitting just the right lines and lengths. He troubled both Australia’s openers and surprised Shane Watson with a ball that kicked up from a length. Committed to the pull, Watson only managed to spear the ball into the air for Harbhajan Singh to catch.

Tim Paine, who has settled nicely into the Australian ODI set up, then set about laying into the Indian bowling. Ishant Sharma, a pale shadow of the bowler who tormented Australia 18 months ago, banged the ball in short, and it http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/edstoryImg/Rain.jpgdisappeared for six over square-leg sooner than you could say "bad ball".

If getting the length wrong wasn’t bad enough, Ishant provided plenty of width as well, and was taken for six fours and a six in the 7.3 overs he sent down before the rain brought him respite.

Harbhajan, who went for 71 from 10 overs in the Pakistan match, struggled to establish any sort of rhythm. With his control deserting him, the runs came easily. Australia’s batsmen did not try to force the pace against the offie, but picked up singles at will.

Amit Mishra, playing his first game of the competition in place of Yusuf Pathan, got the ball to grip the surface and turn, and broke through early. Paine (56) attempted to sweep the leggie and only managed a leading edge, to be caught at midwicket.

Ricky Ponting, bedding down for the long haul, looked particularly ominous when he lifted Praveen Kumar almost effortlessly over long-on for six. Bringing his experience and considerable skill to the fore, Ponting pierced the gaps in the off-side field, working up a good run-rate. Adding 88 for the third wicket with Michael Hussey, Ponting looked well on his way to a big hundred when a freak dismissal sent the Australian captain on his way.

Ponting (65) responded to a call for two from Hussey, who had driven the ball wide of the sweeper cover. Gautam Gambhir, patrolling the ropes, threw the stumps down at the non-striker’s end, leaving Ponting well short.
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Hussey continued the good work and as clouds gathered and rains threatened, the Australians took their batting powerplay at the end of 35 overs. Cameron White set to work, heaving Mishra over midwicket for a big six.

The runs came easily and India were faced with yet another potential 300-plus chase when rain began.

Scorecard

Australia: S Watson c Harbhajan b Nehra 0, T Paine c Harbhajan b Mishra 56, R Ponting run out (Gambhir) 65, M Hussey c Tendulkar b Sharma 67, C White batting 35, C Ferguson batting 2; Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-7) 9

Total (for 4 wkts; 42.3 overs) 234

Fall of wkts: 1-3, 2-87, 3-175, 4-227

Bowling: A Nehra 8-1-38 -1, P Kumar 8-0-34-0, I Sharma 7.4-0-53-1, A Mishra 9-0-45-1, Harbhajan 9-0-54-0, S Raina 1-0-8-0