India qualified for the World Twenty20 semifinals and knocked out Australia after Virat Kohli smashed an unbeaten 82 in their do-or-die showdown in Mohali on Sunday.
Kohli’s powerful 51-ball knock propelled India to a six-wicket victory, as they successfully chased down Australia’s 160-6 to keep their dreams alive of becoming the first nation to win two World T20 titles.
India, who won the inaugural tournament in 2007, now face the West Indies in the semi-finals in Mumbai on Thursday after finishing second in the Super 10 group stage.
But Australia’s hopes of winning their first ever World T20 trophy are once again in tatters, with the top-ranked Test side now bowing out of the tournament.
New Zealand play England in the other semi-final on Wednesday in New Delhi.
Chasing Australia’s challenging total, India had looked down and out at 94-4 but Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18 not out) put on 67 runs to take the team to the finish line.
The 27-year-old Kohli planned his knock to perfection, mixing caution with aggression to smash two sixes and nine fours in a pressure-cooker atmosphere at the packed Punjab Cricket Association ground.
Dhoni, who effected three dismissals, hit the winning four with five balls to spare to trigger wild celebrations in the stands.
Shane Watson’s international career ended in disappointment although the retiring all-rounder did well to grab two key wickets and a spectacular running catch.