WORLD TWENTY20 semi-final, Durban: India 188-5 beat Australia 173-7 by 15 runs
Yuvraj Singh hit some outstanding shots in Durban
India beat Australia by 15 runs in a memorable floodlit match in Durban to book a place against Pakistan in the final of the World Twenty20.
The brilliant left-hander Yuvraj Singh hit 70 off just 30 balls as India won the toss and recovered spectacularly from a sluggish start to total 188-5.
Australia kept in touch through Matthew Hayden (62) and Andrew Symonds (43), despite Sree Santh's excellent 2-12.
But they crumbled when 30 were needed from the last three to end on 173-7.
India won the toss and had little hesitation in opting to bat first at a ground where they had played all but one of their previous matches.
But they were stifled initially, and had to make do with an unthreatening 41-2 after eight overs.
The momentum suddenly changed when Yuvraj, the hitter of six sixes in an over against England on Wednesday, pulled his second ball for another maximum.
He had missed the match against South Africa with tendinitis of the elbow, but looked in sensational form from the moment he deposited Stuart Clark into the crowd for the first of five sixes.
Australia had no answer to Yuvraj's extraordinary hitting
The dolly mixture bowling of Symonds was treated with thorough disdain by Yuvraj, and Robin Uthappa (34) who was accelerating smoothly after an awkward start.
One of Symonds' overs, the 11th, disappeared for 19 - and featured a six from Yuvraj that bounced about the roof of one of the tall stands at Kingsmead Park.
The 14th over, bowled by Mitchell Johnson, cost 21 as the two batsmen began to really embarrass the Aussies.
Reserve wicket-keeper Brad Haddin was forced to play without the gloves as Australia hunted for replacements to cover hamstring injuries to Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson.
And he flapped aimlessly at a chance at deep extra cover that would have ended Yuvraj's innings on 35.
Australia's sixth bowler, Michael Clarke, was the final man to suffer at the hands of Yuvraj, but also the one to claim his wicket when a big hit went straight to deep mid-wicket.
The big hits continued though, with the normally reliable Nathan Bracken being hit for sixes by Mahendra Dhoni (36) and Rohit Sharma in the 19th over.
Australia needed nine-and-a-half runs per over, and they started their innings with the right mixture of purpose and caution.
The fifth over, bowled by RP Singh, cost 17. But Santh, bowling quite beautifully, then made a horrible mess of Adam Gilchrist's stumps.
Back came Australia; Joginder Sharma's first over was caned for 18 as Hayden finally began to find his range.
Once Symonds also began to propel a few deliveries over the short Kingsmead boundaries, the game was nicely poised.
Virender Sehwag bowled one over, which was pummelled for 20, and Dhoni brought back his trump card, Santh.
The Kerala paceman did not let his skipper down, removing Hayden's off-stump.
And India's situation brightened further when Irfan Pathan bowled Symonds.
But Australia were still scoring the 10 runs an over they needed though, and keeping just enough wickets in hand, until the crucial 18th over.
Harbhajan Singh knocked back Clarke's off-stump in an over costing just three, while another tight over from RP Singh left 22 needed off the last.
Australia's remaining batsmen were suddenly rendered powerless and it was India, to the delight of thousands of their fans in the stadium, who emerged victorious.
India paceman Sree Santh was later fined 25% of his match fee for excessive appealing following a ball bowled to Matthew Hayden in the fourth over of Australia's innings.
"When appealing for a decision, a player has to realise he only needs to ask the question once and not over and over again, especially after the umpire has already turned down the appeal," said match referee Chris Broad.
In addition, every Indian player was fined 5% of his match fee, and captain Mahendra Dhoni 10%, because of their slow over-rate during Australia's innings.