SPORT

It’s an India-Pakistan final

Special Correspondent

Yuvraj Singh stars in a thrilling victory over Australia

CHENNAI: India and Pakistan will meet in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 championship on Monday.

India outclassed Australia on Saturday by 15 runs in the second semifinal played at Kingsmead in Durban, South Africa, riding on a 30-ball 70 by Yuvraj Singh and fine bowling efforts from Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, and Harbhajan Singh.

India scored 188 for five after M.S. Dhoni won the toss. The 84-run partnership between Yuvraj and Robin Uthappa (34) supplied India’s backbone after the openers had left by the eighth over.

“It was a very important game for us,” said Man of the Match Yuvraj. “As long as you win, it’s fine.”

The left-hander blended skill and power in his effort, hitting five fours and five sixes. Dhoni’s 36 helped India finish strongly.

Sreesanth provided India the breakthrough, bowling Australian captain Adam Gilchrist. He returned to castle the dangerous Matthew Hayden, who top-scored with 62.

Pathan’s dismissal of Andrew Symonds (43) turned the tide, before a splendid over from Harbhajan all but sealed it.

Pakistan earlier progressed with a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the first semifinal match played at Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa.

Fast-medium bowler Umar Gul orchestrated the win, taking three for 15 in a high-quality display and helping restrict New Zealand to 143 for eight. Pakistan reached the target with seven balls to spare, captain Shoaib Malik hitting off-spinner Jeetan Patel for a six to clinch victory.

“It’s a great win,” said Malik. “Our bowlers are bowling brilliantly at the moment, and they contained New Zealand. We are going to improve on our mistakes for the final where we will give a 100 per cent.”

Opener Imran Nazir led the chase with 59 off 41 balls, including three fours and five sixes.

He put on 60 for the first wicket with Mohammad Hafeez. New Zealand fought hard, dragging the contest out, but didn’t help its cause by dropping catches.

Earlier, New Zealand failed to capitalise on a promising start after winning the toss.

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