Durban:A valiant India held their nerve to knock off Australia in the Twenty20 World Cup at Durban on Saturday. With this win, the tournament is now set for a dream final between India and Pakistan on Monday in Johannesburg.
Needing 21 off the last over, Australia finished at 173 for seven as India burst into celebrations edging past the world champions by 15 runs.
Yuvraj Singh was named Man of the Match for his scintillating 70-run knock.
Needing an average of almost 10 an over, openers Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist felt the heat early on. They could not get going and scored just 36 runs in the first five overs before Sreesanth struck on the first delivery of the sixth over to uproot Gilchrist's stumps for 22 giving India its first breakthrough.
Hayden and Brad Hodge then scored briskly and put up a brief 32-run stand before the latter was out caught for 11 off Irfan Pathan.
Hayden then scored a quickfire half century to turn the tables on India. He along with Andrew Symmonds hit some massive shots across the park to pull down the scoring rate and put Australia on track after a sluggish start.
Just when it seemed that Australia were running away with the match, Sreesanth pulled things back for India with the big wicket of Hayden who was uprooted for 62 runs which off 47 deliveries and included four boundaries and four sixes.
After Hayden's exit, Mike Hussey and Symmonds took guard and kept things under control with a brief 22-run stand before Pathan bowled out Symmonds for a well struck 43 off 26 balls.
Earlier, Yuvraj Singh's power hitting spurred India to 188 for five after Skipper MS Dhoni elected to bat. The southpaw clobbered five boundaries and equal number of sixes for his 70 which came off just 30 deliveries.
There were early worries for India as Virender Sehwag pulled his muscle after facing Brett Lee in the first over and a runner was called for the opener who looked uncomfortable at the crease. But the arrangement was short-lived as he was caught behind off Mitchell Johnson soon after for just nine runs.
Australian pacers bowled an accurate line and suppressed the Indian Batsmen with just 10 runs coming off the first three overs.
But Gautam Gambhir at the other end kept the momentum going and eased the pressure with some free flowing shots. He scored 24 off 25 deliveries, which included four hits to the fence before an excellent catch by Brad Hodge brought about his exit.
Yuvraj Singh walked out in the middle and launched into the Aussie attack right from the word go. He opened his account with style on the second delivery he faced slamming a short delivery off Clarke for a huge six.
Yuvraj, along with Robin Uthappa, stepped up the steam and brought up their fifty-run stand in just 29 deliveries.
Yuvraj notched his half century in just 20 deliveries and hammered three boundaries and four sixes.
The duo scored 84 in six overs to set the pace for India before Uthappa was run out for 34 runs. It rained boundaries and sixes at Kingsmead as Uthappa also matched Yuvraj shot for shot hitting three sixes and four boundaries during his stay at the crease.
Yuvraj singh is back in the playing XI after missing the match against South Africa and Brad Haddin has replaced Shane Watson.
India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Joginder Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, RP Singh.
Australia: Adam Gilchrist (capt, wk), Matthew Hayden, Brad Hodge, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark.