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India Sets Pakistan 261 Victory Target in World Cup Semifinal

Sachin Tendulkar scored 85 as India set archrival Pakistan a victory target of 261 in today’s Cricket World Cup semifinal in Mohali.

Tendulkar, seeking to become the first man to hit 100 international centuries, led a charmed life before being dismissed for 85. Wahab Riaz took 5-46 as India totaled 260-9.

Tendulkar was dropped by Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal -- three of those off the bowling of Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, once off Mohammad Hafeez. Tendulkar also had a leg-before-wicket verdict overturned on video review after scoring 23, and next ball survived a stumping appeal.

Finally, Afridi made up for his teammates’ fielding errors by catching the “Little Master,” off Saeed Ajmal.

India, batting first after winning the toss, grabbed the initiative immediately through opener Virender Sehwag. He lashed the bowlers to all sides of the ground as India reached 39-0 in four overs, 21 of those runs coming off one over bowled by Umar Gul.

Sehwag’s explosive innings of 38 runs off 25 balls came to an end when he was trapped leg-before-wicket by Riaz with the score on 48. His exit slowed India’s progress.

Gautam Gambhir was stumped for 27 before Riaz inflicted a double blow on India in consecutive balls. First he had Virat Kohli caught, then he clean-bowled key batsman Yuvraj Singh with an inswinging yorker. That left the score on 141-4.

Amid Pakistan’s error-strewn fielding performance, Tendulkar approached the century mark before he finally left on 187-5. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on 25 runs, was lbw to Riaz at 205-6, and Harbhajan Singh was stumped for 12. Riaz took his fifth wicket, having Zaheer Khan caught behind before Ashish Nehra was run out.

Suresh Raina ended on 36 not out.

India and Pakistan have each won the World Cup once, in 1983 and 1992, respectively. The winner of today’s game will play Sri Lanka in the final in Mumbai on April 2.

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