Sydney, March 26: The large number of Indian cricket fans, who turned up at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), were left shell shocked after the defending champions meekly surrendered to Australia in the high-voltage World Cup semi-final here on Thursday.
Australia knocked Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men out of the World Cup to book a place in the final where they will meet New Zealand in Melbourne on Sunday. [Australia knock India out of World Cup, reach final]
Ahead of their semi-final, Australia skipper Michael Clarke and Steven Smith issued a call to their home fans to create a gold rush at the SCG. But the famed cricket arena saw thousands of Indian supporters filling the galleries, easily outnumbering the home crowd.
The Indian supporters, who occupied their seats hours before the start of play hoping to see a Rohit Sharma-Shikhar Dhawan show at the start of the innings, turned quiet after Clarke won the toss and elected to bat.
With their hordes of supporters cheering them on, Indian bowlers got an early break with Umesh Yadav taking the wicket of explosive opener David Warner, giving the Indian cricket buffs reason to explode into celebrations.
But Australia's Smith and Aaron Finch built a solid partnership and the Indian fans became tense.
The co-hosts then lost some wickets at the death but still managed a massive 328/7. However the Indian fans seemed confident that their boys would be able to do it.
"It may be difficult. But we will get it. (Virat) Kohli, Rohit (Sharma) will get the runs," said a fan sporting the Team India colours during the lunch break.
The Indians got off to a good start and the crowds started chanting "Jitega bhai jitega, India jitega" (India will win, brother, India will win).
However, opener Dhawan (45), who was striking the ball well, departed, disappointing the crowd.
But what followed next, was something that the fans may not have visualised in their worst nightmare.
Kohli, after scoring only one run, needlessly tried to pull one off Mitchell Johnson, and was caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.
The Indian fans now fell silent. Kohli's girlfriend, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma, looked grim and crestfallen. The writing seemed to be already on the wall.
India thereafter never looked in control of the game, as they lost wickets at regular intervals to leave thousands praying for celebrated finisher Dhoni to come out with another of his trademark match saving knocks.
But that was not to be even though Dhoni tried to do a valiant rescue act.