Cricket World Cup 2015: Australia beat India to reach final

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Sydney
Mitchell Starc (L) celebrates with team mates
World Cup semi-final, Sydney:
Australia 328-7 (50 overs): Smith 105, Finch 81, Yadav 4-72
India 233 (46.5 overs): Dhoni 65, Faulkner 3-59
Australia won by 95 runs

Australia powered into the World Cup final with a 95-run victory over defending champions India in Sydney.

Steve Smith struck a fluent 105 from 93 balls and Aaron Finch 81 as Australia posted 328-7, the highest score in a World Cup semi-final.

India made a solid start to their reply but lost four wickets for 32 runs and fell well short on 233 despite captain MS Dhoni making 65.

Australia will meet fellow co-hosts New Zealand in Sunday's final in Melbourne.

They will do so looking for their fifth World Cup crown - no other team has more than two - and on the back of a seventh semi-final win in as many attempts.

Former Australia captain Allan Border
"Australia might have thought they were 20 or 30 short, but 328 has proven to be a very good score. The bowling and fielding for Australia was very good. It's a comprehensive win, a very professional performance."

For India, the defence of the trophy they won on home soil four years ago and a run of 16 consecutive wins in major one-day tournaments - the World Cup and Champions Trophy - is over.

They can reflect on how their top order fell apart after openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma put on 76 inside 13 overs, but perhaps Dhoni's biggest mistake was calling incorrectly at the toss.

As a result, India, who failed to win any of the 10 matches on their tour of Australia that preceded the World Cup, were made to bowl first on a Sydney pitch that was full of runs.

Even then, Australia failed to fully capitalise on the second-wicket stand of 182 between Smith and Finch, as Michael Clarke's men were stunted by the off-breaks of Ravichandran Ashwin and a curious collective failure against back-of-a-length bowling.

How's stat?
The dismissal of Glenn Maxwell was the 500th catch in this World Cup. It is the first time there have been 500 catches in a World Cup. The previous most was 449 in 2003
Steve Smith is the first Australian to score a 100 in a World Cup semi-final. He is the fifth man overall, after Graham Gooch, Saeed Anwar, Sourav Ganguly and Mahela Jayawardene
Smith is the second Australian to reach at least 50 in four consecutive World Cup innings after David Boon (1987-1992)

In all, four Australia batsmen were undone by the short ball, the first being David Warner, offering a leading edge to Umesh Yadav.

That brought Smith to join Finch, who began with uncertainty and rarely looked at his best, but showed tenacity to support his free-scoring partner.

Cricket World Cup 2015: Steve Smith steers Australia to final

With his familiar shuffle across the stumps, Smith whipped, clipped and pulled three-quarters of his runs through the leg side to become only the fifth man, and first Australian, to score a hundred in a World Cup semi.

As Smith and Finch traded sixes, Australia looked set to move out of sight, but Smith's hook to deep square leg off Yadav signalled a slowing of the pace.

Four wickets for 51 runs left Shane Watson and James Faulkner to rebuild momentum, with Mitchell Johnson's nine-ball 27 carrying Australia to a score they would have earlier seen to be the bare minimum.

And Clarke's men were made to look vulnerable by Rohit and Dhawan, the former going after the short ball, the latter targeting Faulkner with drive after drive.

How's stat?
Only one team has chased 300+ successfully in any ODI at the SCG: Australia made 334-8 v England in 2011. No team has chased 300 in a World Cup knockout game
Australia have taken the most wickets between overs 11 and 20 in the tournament: 13 at 25.63. New Zealand are second with 12 at 31.41
Rahane's wicket was the first India have lost in the batting powerplay in the tournament. They had scored 235 runs off 32 overs in the batting powerplay before that wicket

Fortune also seemed to be going India's way in what became an increasingly bad-tempered contest. Rohit was reprieved in the first over when an edge off Mitchell Starc was adjudged not to have carried to Watson at first slip, while Dhawan was dropped by a flying Brad Haddin off Josh Hazlewood.

Hazlewood, though, returned to have Dhawan sky a catch to cover and, after Johnson's extra pace caused Virat Kohli to top-edge and removed Rohit's leg bail, Australia were rampant.

When Suresh Raina edged Faulkner, all seemed to rest on Dhoni, but his acceleration did not come until the 43rd over, with 121 required and only four wickets in hand.

Glenn Maxwell's direct hit ensured the assault was not sustained and any slim hopes India maintained departed with their captain.

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

Australia's Steve Smith
Steve Smith now has 346 runs for the tournament at an average of 57.66
India bowler Umesh Yadav (centre) looks at Australian batsman Aaron Finch
Umesh Yadav's four wickets took him to 18 for the tournamen. He finishes as India's leading wicket-taker
Australia's Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson starred with bat and ball for Australia. His 27 not out helped Australia to 328-7
A view of the ground in Sydney as India begin their run-chase
The semi-final was the fifth and last game to be held at Sydney this tournament
Ajinkya Rahane of India looks dejected as his is given out by Umpire Kumar Dharmasena after a DRS referral
Ajinkya Rahane built a 70-run partnership with MS Dhoni before he was out via a referral
Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot off Australia's Mitchell Johnson
Dhoni scored his 65 from 65 balls but was left with too much to do
Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates dismissing Umesh Yadav
Mitchell Starc celebrates dismissing Umesh Yadav - the wicket that clinched Australia's victory

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