Zeecric Bureau/Vaibhav Arora
Centurion: Team India’s hopes of a semi-final berth in the Champions Trophy received a huge blow on Monday after their must-win encounter against Australia was called off due to heavy rain at the SuperSport Park.
India will now have to depend at the mercy of other teams to make it through to the semis. The scenario makes India’s game against West Indies a must win and hope that Pakistan beat Australia by a good margin.
With today’s game called-off, Pakistan are through to the last four.
Heavy showers stopped play at Centurion with Australia placed nicely at 234 for the loss of four wickets after 42.3 overs. At the time of interruption, Cameron White was batting on 35 while Callum Ferguson had made just 2.
Earlier in the day, batting first after winning the toss, Australia got off to a slow start but soon capitalized on some missed chances by the Indians as Tim Paine (56) and Michael Hussey (67) took the attack to the opposition.
India started with Ashish Nehra and Praveen Kumar sharing the new ball and did well to restrict the Oz to just 23 in the first over while claiming the wicket of Shane Watson for a duck early on in the innings.
But the batsmen started to cut loose as soon as Ishant Sharma was introduced into the attack with Paine hitting the lanky pacer for sixteen in his first over.
The pair added 83 runs before Amit Mishra who was brought into the side for the game, got rid off Paine.
There was little respite for the Indians, however, as skipper Ricky Ponting and Hussey continued to milk the bowlers and posted a stand of 88 runs.
Just when it looked like Ricky Ponting will take the game away from India, the Australian skipper made an error in judgment that resulted in a much needed run-out for India. Ponting made 65 runs off 88 balls including 4 fours and a six.
Hussey along with Cameron White was looking strong at the other end, which meant India were staring at chasing a target in excess of 300 for the second game in a row.
Ishant finally had something to cheer as he got rid of the dangerous Michael Hussey, who was caught by Sachin Tendulkar in the deep.
Australia: SR Watson, TD Paine†, RT Ponting*, MEK Hussey, CJ Ferguson, CL White, JR Hopes, MG Johnson, B Lee, NM Hauritz, PM Siddle
India: G Gambhir, SR Tendulkar, R Dravid, SK Raina, MS Dhoni*†, V Kohli, A Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, A Nehra, I Sharma, P Kumar