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Aussies complete Asian misery on way to semi-finals
by AFP


Ground:Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
Scorecard:India v Australia
Player:IK Pathan, S Sreesanth, D Mongia, A Symonds, DR Martyn, RT Ponting, AC Gilchrist, V Sehwag, RS Dravid, M Kaif, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, B Lee, GD McGrath, NW Bracken, MG Johnson, SR Watson
Event:ICC Champions Trophy 2006/07

DateLine: 29th October 2006

 

Favourites Australia knocked Asia's last hope India out of the Champions Trophy with a six-wicket win here on Sunday to take their place in the semi-finals.

 

Veteran Glenn McGrath claimed 2-34 from 10 overs as India were restricted to 249-8 after electing to bat, despite half-centuries from Virender Sehwag (65) and captain Rahul Dravid (52).

 

The world champions cruised past the target in the 46th over of the day-night international with opener Shane Watson making 50, skipper Ricky Ponting 58 and Damien Martyn an unbeaten 73.

 

Australia topped group A ahead of the West Indies on net run-rate and will clash with trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in the first semi-final here on November 1.

 

Group B champions South Africa will meet holders West Indies in the second semi-final in Jaipur on November 2.

 

India's defeat meant none of the Asian teams made it to the semi-finals of a major International Cricket Council event for the first time since the inaugural World Cup in 1975.

 

Pakistan and Sri Lanka were also beaten in the league stage and Bangladesh failed to get past the qualifying round despite the tournament being held in familiar sub-continental conditions.

 

A sell-out crowd of around 45,000 at the Punjab Cricket Association stadium watched the impressive Australian progress in an event they have never won despite being the reigning World Cup champions.

 

Adam Gilchrist and Watson provided a rollicking start by smashing 61 for the opening wicket by the ninth over.

 

Seamer Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who replaced the injured Ajit Agarkar, made the breakthrough when Gilchrist slashed a short ball to Suresh Raina at point.

 

But there was no relief for the Indians as Ponting added 50 for the second wicket with Watson and 74 for the third with Martyn.

 

Watson was trapped leg-before by Dinesh Mongia and Ponting was caught in the slips by Sachin Tendulkar off Sreesanth, but Australia's superiority lifted them to an easy win.

 

India, who were 186-3 after 40 overs, were restricted to 63 runs in the last 10 overs despite Mahendra Dhoni's typically aggressive 28 off 23 balls.

 

McGrath led the spot-on Australian attack, ably supported by Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken who finished with two wickets apiece.

 

Sehwag contributed 31 in an opening stand of 46 with Tendulkar, who made an uninspiring 10 before edging McGrath to wicket-keeper Gilchrist in the 10th over.

 

Dravid reached his 72nd half-century in the 41st over by pulling Lee for his sixth boundary but holed out to Michael Clark at mid-wicket off the next delivery.

 

Lee struck again in his next over by bowling Mohammad Kaif for 30 before Bracken removed Raina for 13 and Dhoni off the last ball of the innings.

 

India replaced the injured duo of Yuvraj Singh and Agarkar with Kaif and Sreesanth. The hosts also went in with an additional batsman in Mongia in place of left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh.

 

Australia played the same side that beat England in Jaipur on October 21.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)



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