ICC World Twenty20 semi-final

Australia v India

Hugh Chevallier

At Durban, September 22, 2007 (floodlit). India won by 15 runs. Toss: India.

By common consent, this was the finest Twenty20 international yet played. Two teams at the top of their game fought at an intensity that never waned. Neither side put a foot wrong, apart perhaps from the Australians' muddle-headed decision to play Haddin rather than the specialist slow bowler, Brad Hogg. Dhoni chose to bat, as he had against England and South Africa, but scoring against this attack was trickier. The Australians bowled a miserly line just short of a length and, after eight overs, a fettered India were 41 for two. But the unfettered Yuvraj, recovered from the elbow injury that kept him out of the previous game, pulled Clark for six to get off the mark. And in Uthappa, who came down the pitch to lift Johnson for an audacious six, he found a partner after his own heart; together they added 84 from 40 balls. One sumptuous shot by Yuvraj off Lee, essentially a flick, sent the white ball - a meteorite in the heavens - 119 metres over square leg, the largest hit of the tournament. No one was immune: Clark, elsewhere the epitome of parsimony, and Bracken each cost 38, despite barely a duff ball. Lee relentlessly harried the batsmen, yet the middle order stole 140 from the last 11 overs. Australia seemed to organise their reply perfectly: Hayden provided solidity and Symonds the punch. While they were adding 66 in six overs, they were heading for the final. But Dhoni brought back Sreesanth for the 15th over, his last. From round the wicket he slung in a fiery yorker that uprooted Hayden's off stump. Even so, Australia needed a gettable 55 from 32 balls. Indeed they were up with (or ahead of) the Indian score at the end of every one of the first 18 overs. With 30 needed from three, Dhoni made a second inspired bowling change. Harbhajan Singh removed Clarke with another yorker and yielded just three runs. Australia were still fractionally ahead, but with Haddin connecting with little but thin air, R. P. Singh conceded five from the 19th over - and in the blink of an eye the task had become too tall.

Man of the Match: Yuvraj Singh. Attendance: 18,425.

© John Wisden & Co.