India end Australia reign, set up Pakistan showdown

NEW DELHI, March 24, 2011 (AFP) – India swept three-time defending champions Australia out of the World Cup on Thursday to set up a semi-final showdown against bitter rivals Pakistan and heap more pressure on Ricky Ponting. India’s five-wicket triumph in Ahmedabad means they will tackle Pakistan, who reached the last four with a crushing 10-wicket win over the West Indies, in Mohali on March 30.

But Ponting was left battling to extend his nine-year reign as Australia one-day captain despite the 36-year-old hitting a composed 104 in his team’s below-par 260 for 6.

Brad Haddin made 53 and the recalled David Hussey pitched in with an unbeaten 38 off 26 balls.

Yuvraj Singh then hit 57 not out — his fourth fifty of a tournament where he is averaging over a hundred — to see India home with 14 balls to spare.

Sachin Tendulkar missed his chance to clinch a landmark 100th international century but his 53 was crucial as was Gautam Gambhir’s 50.

“India v Pakistan semi-finals – it doesn’t get any better. The pressure will be big, but in reality it makes no difference to us,” said India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“I’d have been satisfied keeping Australia to 250, but we had our best fielding unit today