2015 ICC World Cup: Semi Final- Australian v India: Eden Gardens at Moore Park

ICC World Cup Semi Final

India v Australia

2:30pm, Thursday 26th March 2015

Sydney Cricket Ground


In the lead up to today the commentariat was discussing how Sydney wasn’t coming out to support the national team.  India qualified for this semi-final last Thursday, Australia’s quarter final was on Sunday.  Indian fans had a 4 day head start to book tickets for the game.  Little wonder the place sounds more like Eden Gardens than the SCG.

Add to this, SCG Membership means nothing to the ICC organisers of the tournament.  All seats in the Members Reserve have been sold to the public.  Most punters think “members are wankers” but this has iced out 8,500 locals who love this ground so much they are prepared to directly invest into it from the biggest game of the year at this venue.

This is the ICC, they don’t play favourites!

Approaching Driver Avenue, the queues to get inside are as long as I’ve ever seen them, nobody is waiting until the last minute to take up their seat.  The pitch looks dull and benign out there.  Hard to believe it was bucketing down here 48 hours ago.

There’s not a cloud in the sky, it is little wonder Michael Clarke chose to bat when he won the toss half an hour ago.  The kitsch countdown starts on the scoreboard, Mohammed Shami starts into Aaron Finch from the Randwick end and the cacophony of sound is one of the best I’ve heard in this grand old ground.

Warner pops up a simple catch from a leading edge.  1 for 15 and this crowd is deafening, to the point I can’t hear the music being played on the PA when Steve Smith walks to the middle.

Smith is having a golden summer and his class is there to see from the first.  He opens his scoring with a boundary.  His calming style has had an effect on Finch, who up until now was flailing about like a fish out of water, he’s had a poor tournament.

They roll onto a 50 run partnership from 52 balls without playing any outrageous shots.  1 for 89 at drinks from 16 overs.  100 partnership from 112 balls.

Jadeja appeals loudly for an LBW against a sweeping Finch.  He’s now up in the face of his captain who looks like he doesn’t want to review, but he finally relents.  The DRS shows it’s closer than was thought, but the umpire’s not out is upheld and Dohni has lost his power of review.

The partnership has reached 150, but I can’t help but feel Australia have fallen behind the desired target rate.  There’s no demons in this pitch, yet an out of form Finch has been playing and missing a lot and Smith has found the fieldsmen more than he’d like.

Powerplay time, and shock, horror, surprise, Steve Smith has another century against India this season.  Not long later he’s out from a top edged pull for 105.  This brings drinks and Glenn Maxwell to the wicket.

The powerplay reaps 64 runs with some big hits but once the spinners are back on the runs tighten up.   Maxwell sweeps a catch to the deep square leg and Finch finally shanks to mid-wicket.

Suddenly the energy in the SCG has changed, the Indians are up, at the precise moment Australia needs some power hitting, they have Clarke and Watson at the crease pushing singles.

Clarke gives up his wicket after labouring for 10 runs.  The smart tactic for India there would have been to drop the catch as James Faulkner now has 8 overs to bat.

Faulkner departs for 21 from 12.  Yadav has 4 wickets and Australia are falling well below a par score of 350.  Watson finally reaches the boundary consistently but is caught near the fence for 28.

Johnson hits Shami for 13 from the penultimate over. Fifteen from the last over and Australia finish with 7 for 328.

As we head off for dinner, you get the feeling it’s at least 30 runs short of par.  That said, this is a semi-final, we’ve got them now they’ve got to get them.  Early wickets will determine who meets the Kiwis in Melbourne.

Early chances come and go.  Starc draws the edge from Sharma, but the video umpire says it didn’t carry to Watson.  Haddin drops a speccy from Dharwan off Hazelwood.  A loud LBW shout is turned down and there’s no review.

The Indian openers seem relaxed, there’s no misjudged running between wickets, they’re waiting for the loose balls and finding the boundary with ease.

Faulkner is belted for 28 from 2 overs.  The Indian fans in the crowd are as loud as ever.

Hazelwood back for a second spell and Dhawan spoons one to Maxwell at deep point.  One for 76 from 13.  Kohli doesn’t last long, he skies one from Johnson and Haddin takes it behind the wicket.  They’ve lost 2 for 2.

Clarke now brings a short leg in for Johnson for Rahane, but for Sharma he’s out of there, and no wonder as he smacks a half tracker for six.  Next ball he plays the ball back onto the leg bail and India are now 3 for 91 with two new batsmen at the crease.

Clarke identifies the time is now to break the middle order and Starc is back into the attack, but for some reason Maxwell replaces a fired up Johnson.

Faulkner is brought back into the attack, Raina hits him for 4 to mid wicket and then knicks the next one to Haddin.  4 for 108.

MS Dhoni strides to the wicket, is he the last great hope for the defending champions?

At the final drinks break there is 17 overs remaining and India need 172.  This partnership has stopped the collapse and they’re making sure they are there for the power play, not really looking for boundaries at the moment.

15 overs to go and its 159 needed.  Powerplay time and nobody has told Dhoni.

Rahane plays and misses to Starc, there’s not much of an appeal but Steve Smith from cover has come screaming in and is insisting on a review.  Maxwell at point seems to agree, Clarke shakes his head but Haddin makes the signal.  There’s a spike on snicko, Rehane is gone caught behind.

This is power play, yet Dhoni hasn’t shifted gears.  At the end of the power play the required rate is double the original asking rate.

Hazelwood draws Dhoni into a false shot, Clarke does all the hard work, but then drops the catch after getting both hands to the ball.  Then Dhoni leaves Jadeja for dead as Steve Smith throws down the stumps on a single that wasn’t there.

43rd over and it’s time for Watto Lotto.  If you picked 15 runs off that over, you won!  Johnson’s next over only goes for 5.

Starc back for the 45th and Dhoni pushes the ball to Maxwell on the 30 yard line at midwicket, he jogs through the single but Maxwell hits the single stump he’s got to aim at.  The howls of displeasure from the ground, tears on their faces.  The Indian fans in the stands are leaving.

Not only that, Ravi Ashwin isn’t looking to score from Faulkner, so he decides to bowl one straight at the stumps and Ashwin once again misses the ball.  Mohit Sharma spent less time at the crease than Steven Gerrard did for Liverpool against Manchester United.  Yadav blocks the hat trick ball.

Starc puts some short ones into Yadav, one getting under the grille and cutting him on the chin.  Two balls later and his castle is brought down.

Australia win, the scoreboard says emphatically by 96 runs.

The final is a replay of the thriller from Eden Park 3 weeks earlier.  Won’t need a passport for that one.


About Wayne Ball

Tragic fan of the Australian and NSW cricket teams (for those of you outside NSW, there is a difference, despite what David Hookes said). Not a fan of T20. Penrith Panthers are the only club of decency and all which is good in Rugby League, the Waratah's were once the national team of Rugby Union, the first non Victorian team in the VFL/AFL is the Sydney Swans, and they all enjoy my passionate support. Sings for Wanderers. Internationally, I have been to see the Oakland Athletics and Green Bay Packers play. One day, I'll see Norwich City play for the FA Cup at Wembley.


  1. G’day Wayne – top stuff.
    I reckon the noise and excitement of Indian cricket supporters en masse must be one of the wonders of the sporting world. Never been to India. Feel very lucky to have experienced the vibe in Melbourne a few weeks ago – and a little disappointed that it won’t make the final.
    But this Australia, an eclectic group of talented characters, earned the win.
    Will you travel for the final?

  2. Wayne Ball says

    Unless someone can pony up a ticket to get in, I won’t be there, unfortunately.

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