Plays of the Day from the second World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali.
The Moment of Truth
The DRS may actually work. Well, only the Indians were not yet fully convinced. Until, the ICC hopes, today. In Saeed Ajmal's second over, he had Sachin Tendulkar plumb - and the umpire thought so - or what looked like plumb first shot as well as in the replay. Tendulkar, though, was far from convinced. He walked over to his partner Gambhir and after a brief discussion asked for a review. The dead surety of Tendulkar's refusal, everyone thought, could only be due to an inside edge. Not quite. But Tendulkar asking for the review seemed almost prescient: the replay predictive path showed the ball going over and well past the leg stump.
After being quoted as saying that he would not allow Tendulkar to score his 100th international century, Shahid Afridi and friends then did their best to guide him in that direction. It took an epidemic of clangers to make Tendulkar's 85 happen. Three times off Afridi's bowling Tendulkar was dropped - by Misbah ul Haq at mid wicket (on 27), Younis Khan at extra cover (on 45) and Kamran Akmal (70) failing to hang on to a thin, quick snick. A fourth chance with Tendulkar on 81 was spilt off Mohammed Hafeez's bowling. Finally, Afridi decided to show his underlings how catches needed to be seized. Given that the ball had come straight at him and he'd actually hung on, Boom Boom was allowed to do a bit of celebrating. But before everyone was able to forget about the dropped catches, Kamran an edge from Dhoni get past him.
Umar Gul against Virender Sehwag was always going to be one of the mini-battles of the game, one of the tournament's leading fast bowlers against the leading slayer of Pakistani fast bowling. Sehwag ended it as early as the third over of the innings, Gul's second. The first two balls were too straight and full, duly dispatched to the leg-side boundary. Fields were changed, slips came out but to no avail: Sehwag casually picked off three more boundaries in a 21-run over and Gul never recovered.
It was always going to be a tough call in such a big game: Wahab Riaz or Shoaib Akhtar? Pakistan opted for the former and it paid off spectacularly as Riaz ended with a maiden five-wicket haul. The pick of the wickets was the dipping, swerving full toss to dismiss Yuvraj Singh first ball, a delivery, in fact, Shoaib himself would've been proud of. It led to a pumped-up airplane celebration, made famous by…none other than Shoaib of course.
Pakistan were well set at 70 for 1, Mohammad Hafeez was better set on 43. He'd hit some fine drives, cut well, pulled authoritatively once. It looked one of the match's prettier knocks. Munaf Patel then pitched one well outside off, on a length, and Hafeez decided the best option was not to leave it, or drive it, but to try and somehow paddle it over his left shoulder. Instead it took an edge to be safely pouched by MS Dhoni. It was the Hafeez moment, the one which occurs in almost every innings he plays, and the template on which his ODI career is based (his average is just over 23).