India’s reign as World Champions is over. In the much talked about semi-final of the 2015 World Cup at Sydney, Australia produced a clinical performance to beat India by 95 runs . Austrlia thus set-up a final clash against co-hosts New Zealand. After Aussie skipper Michael Clarke had won the toss and elected to bat first, India started off brilliantly with the new ball by getting it to move both ways and also picked up the early wicket by removing David Warner (12) cheaply as Umesh Yadav found his length. But the celebrations were short-lived as Steven Smith (105) and Aaron Finch (81) took the Indian attack to the cleaners by putting up a 183-runs partnership that got them in the driver’s seat.
But India struck back by picking up a couple of quick wickets as Yadav did the bulk of the damage by returning with figures of 4 for 72. Shane Watson (28) struggled initially only to find his form back by hitting a few big shots to get the Aussies back on track but Mitchell Johnson (27 off 9) played a brilliant cameo to take the home team to a score of 328 runs by using the long-handle to perfection. The Johnson onslaught demoralized the Indian bowlers and body language showed it all. Earlier, Australia lost Glenn Maxwell who went after the Indian attack by making a quick-fire 23 off 14 before R Ashwin sent him packing and Yadav got the better of Michael Clarke (10) with another short ball. India pulled things back after the big partnership between Smith-Finch but the late flourish at the end of the innings gave them the required momentum that took the Aussies past 300.
India was off to a sedate start but soon picked up pace as Rohit Sharma (34) and Shikhar Dhawan (45) started to find the boundaries more regularly. Dhawan went against the run off play with the score on 76 and from there on it was only downhill for the defending champions. Hazlewood struck with the new ball by getting rid of Dhawan and Johnson took two very big wickets — Virat Kohli (1) and Rohit in quick succession followed by Raina (7) who was dismissed by Faulkner in a matter of 32 runs. India were on the back-foot and defeat was looming.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane tried to stitch together a partnership but it was never going to be enough as the asking rate reached 12 per over. Rahane departed after adding 70 runs with Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja’s (16) brief stay at the wicket came to an end in the form of a run-out. The final nail in the coffin was Dhoni’s run-out (65) that dashed all hopes for the Indians with 33 balls still to play for as Ashwin (4) soon followed his captain to the pavilion after getting cleaned up by Faulkner. For Australia Johnson was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2 for 50 but Faulkner was not far behind by picking up a couple of wickets at the end. He ended with figures of 3 for 59.
Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav were cleaned up by Faulkner and Starc as the defending champions at the end succumbed to a 95-run defeat as Australia gear up to face New Zealand in the final on the 29th of March.