New Delhi: After more than a month of slugging out, the big four teams are left in the 2015 Cricket World Cup. New Zealand joined Australia, India and South Africa in the last four on Saturday. The co-hosts rode into a record breaking Martin Guptill's 237 run essay to beat the West Indies in the last of quarter-final match.
In the first quarter-final, eternal favourites South Africa conquered history and Kumar Sangakkara to beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets at Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. It was their first knock-out win at the World Cup. They will play New Zealand in the first semi-final on March 24 at Auckland.
Defending champions India got the better of surprise package Bangladesh in their last-eight match which was marred by umpiring controversies. India, batting first set a target of 303 runs then bowled out Bangladesh were for a paltry 193 runs. Man of the Match Rohit Sharma's innings was at the centre of controversy following a contentious no-ball call in his favour.
Then the most successful team in the tournament's history, Australia thrashed a resurgent Pakistani side by six wickets to earn a mouth-watering clash with India. The quarter-final match at Adelaide Oval witnessed one of the best fast bowling spells with Wahab Riaz intimidating the Aussies at their own backyard. But after setting a below-par target of 214 runs against a formidable Aussie batting line-up, Pakistan – despite their spirited fightback – found themselves wanting in the greatest stage.
The second semi-final between Australia and India will be played on March 26 at Sydney Cricket Ground.
All four semi-finalists have played impressive games over the last six weeks and the final stretch will provide cricketing tussles of highest order.