Irfan Pathan (37, 12b, 2x4, 4x6) produced a scintillating cameo and Naman Ojha scored a match-winning 90 off 62 deliveries as India Legends beat Australia Legends by five wickets in the first semifinal of the Road Safety World Series 2022 in Raipur.
The clash between the Sachin Tendulkar-led India side against Shane Watson’s Australia was halted in the 17th over on Wednesday after rain played spoilsport and was resumed on Thursday at 3:30 PM IST.
On resumption, Australia Legends posted a challenging total of 171 for five in 20 overs and the final five overs yielded 44 runs with Cameron White and Brad Haddin stitching an important 40-run partnership for the sixth wicket stand.
Rajesh Pawar proved costly as 14 runs came from the final over with White playing a cameo of 18-ball 30.
Ojha and Tendulkar began the chase on a bright note with the Master Blaster exhibiting his trademark drives. However, Nathan Reardon broke the opening partnership by dismissing Tendulkar. Australia tightened the screws further by dismissing Suresh Raina and the two quick wickets took the momentum away from India.
However, on a dry wicket, Ojha dropped anchor and an exquisite cover drive off Dirk Nannes eased nerves in the Indian camp. Ojha along with Yuvraj Singh raised a half-century stand with the two-time World Cup-winning all-rounder playing the supporting role.
Shane Watson got Australia back in the match by dismissing Yuvraj and the fall of Stuart Binny further pushed India on the backfoot. Watson then delivered another blow by removing Yusuf Pathan leaving Ojha stranded at the other end.
The arrival of Irfan saw India gaining back momentum as the former India all-rounder’s blitzkrieg floored the Australians. Irfan started with a six off Nannes and then muscled thee more into the stands to tilt the match firmly in India’s favour.
Irfan then finished the chase in style by smashing Brett Lee to the boundary as India Legends entered the final of the Road Safety World Series 2022. The Tendulkar-led side will play either Sri Lanka Legends or West Indies Legends in the summit clash.