Defeat hurts more to whom? those who often lose or those who rarely do.. Australia ~ finalists of world cup 1996 and winners in 1999, 2003 and 2007 ~ had almost forgotten how to crash out of cricket's biggest tournament as they build up record of most consecutive wins (34) but today, India handed Aussies early tickets back home by winning 2nd quarterfinal of world cup 2011 at Motera in Ahmedabad, first limiting defending champions for 260 through some inspiration work in field and then chasing down their target on a dusty pitch that was getting uglier by the over..
Lets start the story at the begining, from toss which landed in visitors favour and captain Ricky Ponting had no hesitations electing to bat. Aussies had resorted to conservative opening throughout this tournament and today was no different as Brad Haddin and Shane Watson thought twice before counter attacking. Thankfully, umpire Marais Erasmus warned Indian speedster Zaheer Khan as early as in his first over for running on the pitch, forcing him go around the wicket and hence reducing his effect with new ball. 40 runs came off first 10 over which finished with first breakthrough for home team as ball crashed into Watson's stumps while he tried to slog sweep R Ashwin. Brad Haddin played some good shots, targetting Munaf Patel and his 70 run stand with Ponting had set the platform for a launch which, sadly, never came. Ricky managed to score his first one day century in 18 innings (5th in world cup, 6th vs India) but Aussie runrate never threatened a total that Indians wouldn't have hoped to chase down.
Virendra Sehwag looked unfit as he came out to open but his partner, Sachin Tendulkar, looked ominous, getting off the mark with a baundary and then collecting couple of handsome fours off Mitchell Johnson who almost bowled a maiden at him the over before. Tendulkar got past 18000 runs in one day cricket besides bringing up his 94th ODI fifty but Shaun Tait found his outside edge in the 19th over. Young Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir collected 49 crucial runs but some poor running between then wickets and a rash shot from MS Dhoni brought Aussies right back into the game as asking runrate exceeded run per ball for the first time.
Yuvraj Singh, confident with 3 fifty, a century and 11 wickets in the tournament so far, put his head down to the task and found Suresh Raina who was willing to fight it out. Pitch wasn't condusive to free scoring but Indian southpaw pair stroked their team to a famous victory 14 balls earlier.
100th ODI captain for MS Dhoni : it was and now, he's won 57 games, lost 35, tied 1 and other 7 were no results.