Win over Pakistan 'felt like a final' - Harbhajan

Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said beating Pakistan was like winning a tournament after their 29-run victory in Wednesday's World Cup semi-final.

Following the victory in Mohali, India will now face fellow co-hosts Sri Lanka in the final in Mumbai on Saturday.

"It was like a final, because if India and Pakistan are playing the pressure is double," said Harbhajan. "We bowled and fielded well and deserved to win.

"We played some good cricket and we're excited to be going to Mumbai."

Opting to bat first, India got off to a flying start with Sachin Tendulkar riding his luck as he was dropped four times. But Wahab Riaz's five-wicket haul restricted the co-hosts to a modest looking total of 260.

However, Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals and a fine fielding performance from India helped deny them any significant partnerships.

Batsmen Mohammad Hafeez and Asad Shafiq were guilty of throwing away their wickets at inopportune times and were restricted to scores of 43 and 30 respectively.

Misbah-ul-Haq's 56 offered some late resistance but it was not enough to prevent India recording their fifth straight World Cup win over their rivals.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he would look forward to a less pressured final and paid credit to his team's level-headedness before the semi-final win.

"What I am really proud of is the side that I've got," he said. "Everybody is giving their best and that is what is important. We can't really control results.

"We know the conditions quite well but what is important is how we are preparing for that particular game, we are not thinking to much about the past or going into the future. With one game to go hopefully we will stay on track."

India's man of the match Tendulkar spoke of his pride at playing a World Cup final in his home town of Mumbai, after his score of 85 proved crucial to the co-hosts.

"Going back to Mumbai for this event is a wonderful occasion. I just hope we can get the job done," said Tendulkar, still one short of becoming the first man to make 100 international hundreds.

"I thought the way we bowled was brilliant and the way we fielded was absolutely fabulous."

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was notably gracious after such a high-profile defeat.

"I want to congratulate the Indian cricket team and all the Indian nation for this great victory and wish them well for the final," he said.

"We have played really well in this whole competition and the boys did a great job. I am very proud to be captain of these guys.

"Wahab Riaz really bowled well and at that stage we really needed a wicket. When we got Virender Sehwag out, we thought maybe it's the right time to put some pressure on them but Sachin was lucky as well and we missed some opportunities. I think they played better than us.

"I want to say sorry to our nation, we tried our level best but hopefully they enjoyed it."

Top Stories