Section: India

Cricket World Cup: Australia beat India to reach final

Australia powered into the World Cup final with a 95-run victory over defending champions India in Sydney.

World Cup semi-final, Sydney:
Australia 328-7 (50 overs): Smith 105, Finch 81, Yadav 4-72
India 233 (46.5 overs): Dhoni 65, Faulkner 3-59
Australia won by 95 runs

Steve Smith struck a fluent 105 from 93 balls and Aaron Finch 81 as Australia posted 328-7, the highest score in a World Cup semi-final.

India made a solid start to their reply but lost four wickets for 32 runs and fell well short on 233 despite captain MS Dhoni making 65.

Australia will meet fellow co-hosts New Zealand in Sunday’s final in Melbourne.

They will do so looking for their fifth World Cup crown – no other team has more than two – and on the back of a seventh semi-final win in as many attempts.

For India, the defence of the trophy they won on home soil four years ago and a run of 16 consecutive wins in major one-day tournaments – the World Cup and Champions Trophy – is over.

They can reflect on how their top order fell apart after openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on 76 inside 13 overs, but perhaps Dhoni’s biggest mistake was calling incorrectly at the toss.

As a result, India, who failed to win any of the 10 matches on their tour of Australia that preceded the World Cup, were made to bowl first on a Sydney pitch that was full of runs.

Even then, Australia failed to fully capitalise on the second-wicket stand of 182 between Smith and Finch, as Michael Clarke’s men were stunted by the off-breaks of Ravichandran Ashwin and a curious collective failure against back-of-a-length bowling.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India beat Bangladesh to reach semi-finals

Defending champions India coasted into the World Cup semi-finals with a 109-run win over Bangladesh in Melbourne.

World Cup quarter-final, Melbourne:
India 302-6 (50 overs): Rohit 137, Raina 65, Taskin 3-69
Bangladesh 193 (45 overs): Nasir 35, Yadav 4-31
India won by 109 runs

Opener Rohit Sharma made a composed 137 from 126 balls and Suresh Raina 65 from 57 as India recovered from 115-3 to post 302-6 at a boisterous MCG.

Bangladesh lost two wickets in the seventh over of their reply and eventually limped to 193 all out in 45 overs as India’s bowlers dominated.

India meet either Australia or Pakistan in a Sydney semi-final on 26 March.

They will go there on the back of 11 successive World Cup victories, a run that stretches back to their success on home soil four years ago.

Their six-match winning streak in this competition has come after a horrible tour of Australia, where they failed to win any of their 10 games across all formats.

But the resurgence in a limited-overs tournament is typical of MS Dhoni’s team, who not only hold the World Cup, but also the Champions Trophy and won the 2007 World Twenty20.

India made the last four by outclassing a Bangladesh team that eliminated England on their way to a first World Cup quarter-final.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India beat Zimbabwe to keep 100% record

India continued their perfect record at the World Cup with a six-wicket win against Zimbabwe in Auckland.

World Cup Pool B, Auckland:
Zimbabwe 287 (48.5 overs): Taylor 138, Williams 50, Yadav 3-43
India 288-4 (48.4 overs): Raina 110*, Dhoni 85*, Panyangara 2-53
India won by six wickets

Suresh Raina (110 not out) and captain MS Dhoni (85 not out) shared a 196-run partnership to chase 288 at Eden Park.

Holders India had already qualified for the quarter-finals where they will face Bangladesh, but victory marked a 10th successive win in World Cup matches.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor had earlier scored 138 off 110 balls in his final international appearance.

Left-hander Raina, who reached his century in 94 balls, was gifted a lifeline on 47 when Zimbabwe all-rounder Hamilton Masakadza dropped a simple chance.

His error at short fine leg from a top-edged sweep shot came with India’s reply in the balance at 157-4.

India were already guaranteed to finish top of Pool B and wrapped up their sixth win from six matches, but defeat for Zimbabwe meant their World Cup campaign concluded with only one win from six.

India captain MS Dhoni, who won the toss and elected to field, admitted it had been a good test for his side ahead of the knock-out stages.

“The wicket was doing a bit in the second innings and the Zimbabwean bowlers exploited that well, with slow bowling,” he said.

“Raina is a key player for us and the partnership we put on was very good.

“Everyone has performed under pressure so this is looking good and all our batsmen have had a bat.”

Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Taylor’s brilliant century came in his final outing for his country, having elected to join Nottinghamshire on a Kolpak contract for the forthcoming English county season.

The 29-year-old smashed 15 fours and five sixes in his stay at the crease to ensure Zimbabwe recovered from a sluggish start to post 287.

It was the right-hander’s second century in the tournament, havingscored 121 against Ireland in their previous match.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Ireland dealt qualification blow by India

Ireland’s hopes of reaching the World Cup quarter-finals suffered a blow as India sealed top spot in Pool B with a fifth straight win in the tournament.

Ireland came into the match knowing that a point would see them qualify.

World Cup Pool B, Hamilton:
Ireland 259 (49 overs): N O'Brien 75, Porterfield 67, Shami 3-41
India 260-2 (36.5 overs): Dhawan 100, Rohit Sharma 64
India won by eight wickets

Despite an opening stand of 89 between William Porterfield and Paul Stirling and 75 from Niall O’Brien, their 259 total was never likely to be enough.

So it proved as Shikhar Dhawan (100) and Rohit Sharma (64) helped India to a comfortable eight-wicket victory.

The margin of defeat is a reality check for Ireland, who have performed well above expectation in this tournament, claiming three wins (two against Test-playing nations) to give them six points and genuine hope of reaching the last eight.

They can still do so, but they will need to beat Pakistan in their final pool game or gain a point should the fixture be rained off.

Much like their game with South Africa, in which they conceded 411 runs before being bowled out for 210, the gulf in class between the sides in Hamilton was vast.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India advance with narrow win over West Indies

India sealed their progress to the Cricket World Cup quarter-finals as they recorded a nervy four-wicket win over West Indies.

World Cup Pool B, Perth:
West Indies 182 (44.2 overs): Holder 57, Sammy 26, Shami 3-35
India 185-6 (39.1 overs): Dhoni 45no, Kohli 33, Taylor 2-33
India won by four wickets

The defending champions looked set for a comfortable victory in Pool B when they reduced West Indies to 85-7.

But captain Jason Holder made a brilliant 57 at number nine to stretch the total to 182, before India faltered to 107-5 in reply.

It was left to skipper MS Dhoni to see India home with a composed unbeaten 45.

Despite the modest target, India were in trouble with Jerome Taylor (2-33) and Kemar Roach (1-44) dismantling the top order.

But just as he did in the 2011 World Cup final, and in countless other one-day internationals, captain Dhoni guided India to victory under substantial pressure.

As well as guaranteeing their qualification for the knockout stages, India are now in pole position to finish top of Pool B, having won all their matches and with only fixtures against Ireland and Zimbabwe remaining.

West Indies meanwhile are far from certain to advance from the group, having won just two of their five matches.

Their fate will depend on the results of the remaining matches involving Ireland and Pakistan, and may come down to net run rate.

But despite the two sides’ contrasting fortunes, India’s victory was far from straightforward as they allowed West Indies to turn a one-sided contest into a scrap.

West Indies won the toss and chose to bat, having scored more than 300 in every previous match in this tournament in which they had batted first.

But that total was never on the cards after a shambolic performance from the top order.

With the new ball swinging prodigiously, Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle and Denesh Ramdin perished to reckless shots – and in between Marlon Samuels was run out – as they collapsed to 35-4.

Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, but Holder batted superbly with some support from Darren Sammy (27) to reach a respectable total.

The target seemed unlikely to test India, but after they lost Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan early to the impressive Taylor, they wobbled.

Andre Russell removed Virat Kohli (33) and Ravindra Jadeja (13), and Ajinkya Rahane (14) nicked behind, but West Indies could not prise the nerveless Dhoni from the crease.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India crush South Africa in Melbourne

Shikhar Dhawan hit a superb century as defending champions India maintained their unbeaten start to the World Cup with a 130-run win over South Africa.

World Cup Pool B, Melbourne Cricket Ground
India 307-7 (50 overs): Dhawan 137, Rahane 79
South Africa 177 all out(40.2 overs): Du Plessis 55, Ashwin 3-41
India won by 130 runs

India’s 307-7 was built around Dhawan’s 137, while Ajinkya Rahane made 79 off 60 balls and Virat Kohli 46.

South Africa were bowled out for 177 with 9.4 overs unused as Faf du Plessis’s departure for 55 sparked a collapse of seven wickets for 44 runs.

The defeat was South Africa’s heaviest in World Cup history.

India, who remain top of Pool B with two wins from two games, face the United Arab Emirates in Perth on Sunday, when victory will all but secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Fifth-placed South Africa play West Indies in Sydney on Friday, but the manner in which they subsided on a blameless surface cast doubts on their tag as one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Dhawan’s composed innings was typical of a measured rather than explosive batting display, and two key run-outs were reward for the pressure India created with an accomplished performance in the field.

Dropped on 53 by Hashim Amla and fortunate not to be run out for 55, left-hander Dhawan combined fluent drives with meaty pulls in a 146-ball innings which featured 16 fours and two sixes.

Having lost Rohit Sharma cheaply, he added 127 with captain Kohli for the second wicket and 125 in 16 thrilling overs with Rahane for the third.

Dhawan eventually fell to a top-edged pull off Wayne Parnell, whose treatment late in the innings left him nursing figures of 1-85 off nine overs.

No South Africa batsman came close to playing with the composure shown by Dhawan as India’s fielders maintained the pressure created by Mohammed Shami’s early removal of Quinton de Kock.

Mohit Sharma had Hashim Amla taken at long leg and Du Plessis drilled the first ball of his second spell to mid-off, either side of Mohit’s most important contribution, running out South Africa captain AB de Villiers for 30 with a magnificent flat throw from deep point.

Smart work from Umesh Yadav and MS Dhoni accounted for the dangerous David Miller, and Ravichandran Ashwin hastened South Africa’s collapse to finish with 3-41.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India crush rivals Pakistan

Virat Kohli compiled a composed hundred to help defending champions India begin the World Cup with a 76-run victory over fierce rivals Pakistan.

Cricket World Cup Pool B, Adelaide:
India 300-7 (50 overs): Kohli 107, S Khan 5-55
Pakistan 224 (47 overs): Misbah 76, Shami 4-38
India won by 76 runs

Kohli made 107 and shared century stands with both Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (74) at the Adelaide Oval.

When Kohli fell as part of Sohail Khan’s 5-55, Pakistan looked to have dragged themselves back into the game by restricting India to a reachable 300-7.

But a chase that never gained momentum was wrecked by a collapse of three wickets for one run and they eventually stumbled to 224 all out, Mohammed Shami claiming 4-35.

In isolation, India’s win earns national pride in what was billed as the most watched cricket match of all time, with an estimated television audience of one billion, and extends their World Cup record against Pakistan to six wins from as many matches.

It was also an emphatic way to begin the defence of a trophy they won on home soil in 2011 and represents their first competitive win since arriving for a tour of Australia in November.

Pakistan, winners when the tournament was last held in Australia and New Zealand 23 years ago, can take heart from the way they stuck to the task with the ball, but their limp chase was poor.

After all the hype, the action was intriguing, rather than exciting.

Making first use of an excellent pitch on a baking hot day, India’s innings was underpinned by Kohli’s calm accumulation all around the wicket, his 126-ball stay containing only eight fours.

The right-hander made Pakistan pay for dropping him twice, the first a tough chance in the deep to Yasir Shah when on only three, the second a more straightforward edge behind to Umar Akmal from the spin of Haris Sohail on 76.

When the 26-year-old punched Shahid Afridi to long-on for a 22nd ODI hundred – only Sachin Tendulkar has more for India – he became the first man to score a century in his opening match of a World Cup tournament on two occasions.

Support came from Dhawan, who curbed his attacking instincts, and Raina, who repeatedly heaved through the leg side in his 56-ball knock.

However, after Kohli edged Sohail to Umar, Pakistan fought back through fast bowler Sohail, who demonstrated consistency of length and canny changes of pace.

India scored just 27 runs in their final five overs as five wickets fell, four of them to Sohail.

A chase of 301 looked within Pakistan’s grasp at the interval, but they never threatened to keep up with the six-an-over run-rate.

Younus Khan, promoted to open, gloved a Shami bouncer behind early on and, though Ahmed Shahzad and Haris shared 68, Ravichandran Ashwin found turn with a beautiful off-break to have the latter caught at slip.

And, when Umesh Yadav removed Shahzad and Saqaib Mahsood in the space of three balls followed by Umar controversially being given out, caught behind off Ravi Jadeja on review, the contest was effectively over.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq did his best to delay the inevitable with some clean striking in his 76, but he was the ninth wicket to fall, to the lively Shami, before Mohit Sharma had Sohail caught at long-on to seal India’s victory.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Australia v India: Hosts win series after Sydney Test ends in draw

India survived a last-session collapse against Australia to draw the final Test in Sydney as the hosts secured a 2-0 series win.

Fourth Test, Sydney (day five):
Australia 572-7 dec & 251-6 dec drew with India 475 & 252-7

Declaring their second innings overnight on 251-6, Australia set India a victory target of 349.

Steve Smith’s side were left three wickets short as they chased a final day win with India finishing on 252-7.

Opening batsman Murali Vijay top scored with 80 as Ajinkya Rahane (38) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (20) secured a draw.

Victories in the opening two Test matches in Adelaide and Brisbanewere enough to secure the 2-0 series win for Australia, as the final two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney were drawn.

Despite some disciplined bowling from Australia on a turning final-day pitch, only one India batsman had fallen in each of the first two sessions and the match looked destined for a draw at tea.

Australia were given a glimpse of victory as India collapsed from 178-2 to 217-7 in the final session, but Rahane and Kumar held out in the closing overs with an unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 35.

Earlier, captain Smith took a sensational one-handed diving catch at slip to dismiss Rohit Sharma (39) just before lunch, while spinner Nathan Lyon and fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood all claimed two wickets apiece.

The start of the series had been rearranged and moved from Brisbane to Adelaide following the death of Australia Test batsman Phillip Hughes in November.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Australia v India: Smith’s 71 takes him past Bradman mark

Steve Smith eclipsed a Don Bradman record as Australia chased victory over India in the fourth Test in Sydney.

Fourth Test, Sydney (day four):
Australia 572-7 dec and 251-6 v India 475

The captain hit 71 off 70 balls to pass Bradman’s 1947-48 Australian record of 715 for most runs in a series against India.

Smith, who had already made four centuries in the series, scored 769 runs at an average of 128.16.

Australia raced to 251-6 and a lead of 348 over India before rain stopped play at the end of day four.

Looking to wrap up the four-match series 3-0, the hosts dismissed India for 475 shortly before tea to take a 97-run lead after the first innings.

India captain Virat Kohli was only able to add seven runs to his overnight score before clipping a Ryan Harris delivery to Rogers at midwicket.

Kohli’s 147 helped bring his tally over the four tests to 646 runs, the second highest by an Indian batsman in an overseas series after the 774 Sunil Gavaskar accumulated in West Indies in 1971.

In response, Australia opener Chris Rogers hit a 77-ball 56 before he was caught at midwicket off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, while Smith was eventually out lbw to Mohammed Shami.

Joe Burns weighed in with three sixes and eight fours in his 39-ball 66.

Bradman,  who died in 2001 aged 92, is regarded as Australia’s finest cricketer and the greatest Test batsman of all time.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Australia v India: Kohli makes history & ‘spidercam’ controversy

Virat Kohli became the first man to make three Test centuries in his first three innings as captain on an eventful third day of the fourth Test against Australia in Sydney.

Fourth Test, Sydney (day three):
Australia 572-7 dec v India 342-5

He made an unbeaten 140, while Lokesh Rahul, with 110, helped India finish on 342-5, in response to 572-7 declared.

Rahul was dropped on 46 by captain Steve Smith, who blamed television device ‘spidercam’ for the error.

Smith was “distracted by one of the wires in his eyeline”, said Australia.

Spidercam is a camera system which gives viewers a bird’s eye view of the action using cables to carry a camera on wires above the action.

Australia have already secured the series after winning the first two Tests in Adelaide and Brisbane and drawing the third in Melbourne.

Read more at BBC Sport