India end Australia's dominance to reach final

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DURBAN, South Africa, Sep 23 (Reuters) India stormed into the final of the Twenty20 World Cup after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team ended Australia's dominance in major competitions.

Australia have won the last three 50-over World Cup tournaments as well as being the game's most successful test team for more than a decade.

However, yesterday they came unstuck against a confident Indian team who beat them by 15 runs to earn a place in the final against Pakistan in Johannesburg tomorrow.

''It's the biggest stage and the biggest match you can play,'' Dhoni told a news conference.

''It's a match that needs to be played with intensity, and I think we are ready to do that.'' Despite the interest that will be generated by the prospect of the two sub-continent teams going head-to-head, Dhoni said the Indians would not feel the pressure.

''The pressure will be immense, not on us though because I don't believe in taking pressure and none of my team do either,'' Dhoni said.

''Taking the pressure on board will not help you perform. It will bring down your confidence.'' Yuvraj Singh top scored with a blistering 70 in India's total of 188 for five, and Australia replied with 173 for seven.

The flamboyant batsman shared 84 runs off 40 balls with Robin Uthappa (34) for the third wicket after India won the toss and chose to bat.

The 25-year-old, who smashed six sixes in an over against England earlier in the week, launched the Australian bowlers for five fours and five sixes during his entertaining 30-ball knock.

Dhoni kept India's momentum on the boil with a brisk 36 off 18 balls.

Australia slipped to 68 for two in the ninth over before Matthew Hayden (62) and Andrew Symonds shored up the innings with a stand of 66.

MOUNTING PRESSURE Fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth made the breakthrough when he bowled Hayden in the 15th over, and Australia were unable to mount any other significant partnerships.

India's win was almost assured when pace bowler Rudra Pratap Singh conceded just five runs in the 19th over.

That left Australia the difficult task of scoring 22 runs in the last over to win.

Seamer Joginder Sharma took charge of the last six balls and he seemed unaffected by the mounting pressure as he dismissed Michael Hussey (13) and Brett Lee (2) to limit the Australians to six runs in the over.

Australian captain Adam Gilchrist was left to dwell on a rare defeat.

''We'll go away and talk about it, we'll realise this format is probably going t have a big impact on world cricket,'' Gilchrist said.

''We need to analyse and put some thought into it. There's no-one up there in our dressing room who doesn't care about it.

''It's annoying and frustrating if you go into a competition hoping to win it and you don't.'' REUTERS BJR AS0905

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