Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Australia end India's Cricket WCup reign

Published:Friday | March 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM
India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni walks from the field after he was run out for 65 during the Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia in Sydney, Australia, yesterday.
Australia's Steve Smith waves his bat after reaching 50 in the Cricket World Cup semi-final match in Sydney, Australia, yesterday. Smith made 105.
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SYDNEY (AP):

Michael Clarke's Australian line-up ended India's reign as World Cup champions with a 95-run victory that set up a showdown in the final with tournament co-hosts New Zealand.

Steve Smith scored 105 and shared a 182-run partnership with Aaron Finch (81) to help Australia post 328-7, a record for a World Cup semi-final, at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

India started their chase confidently, with openers Shikhar Dhawan (45) and Rohit Sharma (34) rushing the total to 76 in the 13th over before Josh Hazlewood broke through to change the momentum of the innings.

Mitchell Johnson chimed in with two quick wickets as India slipped to 91-3, and the 2011 winners were eventually out for 233 in 46.5 overs, despite Mahendra Singh Dhoni's late cameo of 65.

Four-time champions Australia will go into Sunday's decider at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as favourites, despite their one-wicket loss to the unbeaten New Zealanders in a low-scoring thriller at Auckland in the group stage. New Zealand beat South Africa with a ball to spare in the semi-finals to reach a World Cup final for the first time.

"We played some outstanding cricket. Smithy's hitting the ball so sweetly and I was really proud of the execution of our bowlers," Australia captain Michael Clarke said. "A lot of the guys sacrificed themselves for the team.

Tough final

"We're proud to make the final, but it's going to be tough against New Zealand."

India had won 11 consecutive World Cup matches dating back to a group-stage loss to South Africa in 2011. Dhoni's team won their first seven matches in the 2015 edition and were the only team to bowl out their opposition in every game before they ran into an Australian team that had dominated their bilateral exchanges this season.

"It's something that doesn't really belong to anyone. We definitely took it from someone, so somebody took it from us," Dhoni said of losing the Cup. "The best team takes it for four years.

"If we would have played better cricket on this particular day, maybe we would have gone into the finals. But that's how it is."

India had the majority of the support in the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but was unable to capitalise at a venue where it has only once previously beaten Australia in a limited-overs international.

Smith went to the crease in the fourth over after Umesh Yadav dismissed David Warner (12), and he picked up where he left off in the pre-World Cup matches against India. He scored a century in each of the four matches in the test series and 47 in a one-dayer, during a stretch of two months when India didn't win a match on Australian soil.