Rain spoils India’s semi-final hopes in Champions Trophy (Lead)

September 29th, 2009 - 2:25 am ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan Singh Centurion, Sep 28 (IANS) Heavy rains spoiled India’s hopes of making it to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy after their must-win Group A match against defending champions Australia was called of at the SuperSport Park here Monday.
Australia were on course for a big total and were 234 for four in 42.3 overs with Cameron White batting on 35 and Callum Ferguson on two when heavy rains stopped the match.

Even after an hour, rain didn’t stop and one of the light towers became dysfunctional after lightning struck it as India and Australia split points. Australia now have three points while India have one.

India now have a slim chance of making to the last four and have to beat the West Indies by a huge margin in their last league game and hope that Pakistan beat Australia comprehensively.

Earlier in the day, Australia captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and decided to bat.

India, desperately needing a win to stay alive, bowled inconsistently, as Tim Paine (56), Ponting (65) and Michael Hussey (67) scored freely on both sides of the wicket.

Ponting and Paine gave some stability to the Australian innings with an 84-run stand for the second wicket and were comfortable facing both the pacers and the spinners.

While Ponting dropped anchor, Paine was in an aggressive form and pulled fast bowler Ishant Sharma for a huge six besides hitting seven fours in his 58-ball knock. His innings ended when Harbhajan Singh caught him off leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

But still there was no respite for India, as Hussey and Ponting continued to accumulate runs at a rapid pace and added 88 runs for the third wicket. While Ponting was found short of the crease by Gautam Gambhir’s direct throw, Hussey departed after charging Sharma and being caught at long off by Sachin Tendulkar.

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