INDIA will contest the World Cup final on home soil against Sri Lanka on Saturday after they secured a 29-run win over Pakistan in Mohali.
Sachin Tendulkar won the man-of-the match award despite falling 15 runs short of his one hundredth international century as the hosts failed to fully capitalise on the breezy start given to them by Virender Sehwag.
Indeed, India only reached a total of 260- 9 on the back of some dreadful Pakistan fielding. Shahid Afridi’s men spilled six catches in total with Tendulkar let off the hook on four occasions – the Little Master also survived a missed stumping chance and had the UDRS system to thank when Saed Ajmal looked to have trapped him in front.
Pakistan were well in contention at 103-3 in the 23rd over, but their middle order batsmen failed to keep up with the rate, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in particular wasting much of the strike, and they eventually fell well short of their target.
For Tendulkar, the chance to write himself even further in the annals of the game now presents itself with an opportunity to win a World Cup on his home ground in Mumbai and collect what would be a momentous hundredth hundred.
“Going back to Mumbai for this event is a wonderful occasion,” said the 37-year-old, who has now won every one of his five World Cup confrontations with Pakistan since 1992. “I just hope we can get the job done.”
He added: “I thought the way we bowled and fielded was fabulous. Viru got us off to a flier, which gave us a little bit of extra time after the wicket slowed down a bit. We just needed to get a competitive total.”