India beat World Cup holders Australia

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The Independent Online

India dumped three-time defending champions Australia out of the World Cup today to set up an eye-catching semi-final with Pakistan.

Yuvraj Singh was the star for the co-hosts in Ahmedabad, hitting a calm, unbeaten 57 to guide his side to a five-wicket win after Ricky Ponting's century had put Australia in a strong position.

Ponting made 104 off 118 balls as the Australians made 260 for six, but India reached their target with 14 balls remaining thanks to Yuvraj, Sachin Tendulkar (53) and Gautam Gambhir (50).

Ponting, looking to become the first captain to win the marquee event three times, had a previous best in this year's tournament of 36.

But he held the Australia innings together with a wily knock based on steady accumulation.

He came in at 40 for one when Ravi Ashwin dismissed Shane Watson (25) at the end of the 10th over and, along with Brad Haddin, took Australia past 100 in the 21st over.

But Yuvraj broke the 70-run stand by having the opener caught by Suresh Raina at cover.

Ponting held the innings together for the next 20 overs despite getting little support from the middle order.

He lost Michael Clarke, Yuvraj's second victim, for eight, Michael Hussey for three and Cameron White for 12 as wickets fell regularly.

But with David Hussey for company, he switched gears as he inched closer to the three-figure mark.

Australia reached 200 for five in the 44th over and soon Ponting brought up his fifth World Cup century.

Ashwin ended Ponting's innings, which included seven fours and a six, by luring him into a reverse sweep which was pouched by Zaheer Khan at gully.

By then Ponting had added 55 off 43 balls with David Hussey, who remained unbeaten on 38 off 26 balls as Australia blasted 41 off the last five overs.

Zaheer, Yuvraj, and Ashwin picked up two wickets apiece as Australia set 261 for victory.

In reply, India kept up with the asking rate, reaching 44 in eight overs before Virender Sehwag (15) became the first man to fall.

Tendulkar, when on 45, became the first batsman to complete 18,000 one-day runs and soon brought up his 94th half-century off 61 balls.

Gambhir, who looked tentative early on, proved the perfect foil for Tendulkar, adding 50 off 59 balls before Shaun Tait dismissed the 'Little Master' for 53.

Gambhir and new man Virat Kohli then took India to 123 for two at the halfway mark, although the spinners kept the run rate under check.

Kohli (24 off 33) holed out to mid-wicket off a full toss from David Hussey in the next over, bringing Yuvraj to the crease.

The left-handed duo played the spinners with ease as Gambhir brought up his 24th half-century off 63 balls, but soon survived two run out chances with Ponting and Haddin missing the target.

But the rub of the green finally eluded the Delhi man, when he ran himself out after another mix-up with Yuvraj to leave India on 168 for four after 34 overs.

Brett Lee ended Mahendra Singh Dhoni's eight-ball stay three overs later, raising alarm bells.

But Yuvraj and his new partner, Suresh Raina, eased any nerves by blasting 14 off the paceman's next over as India went past 200 by 40th over.

Yuvraj and Raina (34no off 28) then unleashed a flurry of boundaries to take India to the brink of victory as Yuvraj notched up his fourth half century off the tournament.

The unbroken sixth-wicket partnership produced 74 off just 61 balls, taking India home in style.

You can see how it unravelled with our over-by-over coverage by clicking here.