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Tendulkar helps India into World Cup final with win over Pakistan

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • India to face co-hosts Sri Lanka in Cricket World Cup's first all-Asia final
  • Sachin Tendulkar top-scores with 85 as India beat Pakistan in semifinals in Mohali
  • Home team score 260-9 from allotted 50 overs, while Pakistan all out for 231
  • Match was Pakistan's first in India since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks

(CNN) -- India reached the final of the Cricket World Cup for the third time after beating fierce rivals and neighbors Pakistan by 29 runs in Mohali on Wednesday.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team will play fellow co-hosts Sri Lanka in Saturday's final in Mumbai, with both teams seeking to win the 50-over tournament for the second occasion in the first all-Asia title match.

The semifinal in Punjab province was Pakistan's first match in India since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks which further strained relations between the two sub-continent nations.

Cricket fans in both countries abandoned work to watch the match on television and giant screens in stadiums, while respective prime ministers Manmohan Singh of India and Pakistan's Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani attended the game in a show of diplomacy.

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Veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar top-scored with a fortuitous 85 as India posted a total of 260-9 in their allotted overs, while Wahab Riaz claimed five wickets for Pakistan to give his team a reasonable total to chase.

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But India took vital wickets at regular intervals, as 1992 champions Pakistan were bowled out for 231 off the penultimate delivery with Misbah-ul-Haq top-scoring on 56.

The victory sparked scenes of jubilation among India fans in Mohali, CNN correspondent Mallika Kapur reported.

"The main roads are blocked by cars. People are sitting on top of them, beating drums and dancing on the roads. Men have taken their T-shirts off and are screaming and shouting. A really electric atmosphere!" Kapur said.

"Some people are hanging out of car windows -- some are standing on top of cars and waving the Indian flag."

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Tendulkar, who scored 98 when India beat Pakistan in the group stages of the 2003 tournament, survived a strong appeal for leg before wicket and was dropped four times before becoming the fifth man to fall with the total at 187.

The 37-year-old, the world's highest run-scorer in both limited-overs and Test formats, hit 11 fours from 115 balls faced until he was finally caught by Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi to be the first of two wickets for Saeed Ajmal.

It put him second behind Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan as the tournament's leading scorer, with 464 from eight innings, and earned him the man-of-the-match award.

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"It's always memorable to play against Pakistan, and to be on the winning side five times against them is a memory I will always cherish," he told AFP.

"But it was a brilliant effort in the field and by the bowlers today. When we batted we had to make sure we got a fighting total. I thought 310 or 315 would have been a good par score. Then the ball started stopping and spinning and something closer to 270 was par."

Riaz, playing just his 18th one-day international, had taken three of those first five wickets including dangerous big-hitter Yuvraj Singh for a first-ball duck immediately after he dismissed Virat Kohli (9).

The 25-year-old left-arm fast bowler was unable to get rid of Dhoni and claim a memorable hat-trick, but he later trapped the India skipper lbw for 25 and finished with career-best figures of 5-46.

Riaz also helped to run out tailend batsman Ashish Nehra as India scored only 60 runs in the final 10 overs.

Pakistan made a solid start in reply with 44 on the board before Kamran Akmal fell to Zaheer Khan with the final ball of the ninth over, becoming the left-armer's 18th wicket of the tournament.

Akmal made a brisk 19 off 21 balls faced, while his fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez scored 43 from 59 before being second man out.

At 102-2 the match was still in the balance, but spinner Yuvraj dismissed Asad Shafiq (30) and veteran batsman Younis Khan (13) to turn the tide in India's favor.

Umar Akmal tried to get Pakistan's run-rate back to the required level with a quickfire 29 off 24 balls, including two sixes, but when he was bowled by Harbhajan Singh it left his team needing 119 runs from 16.5 overs.

Misbah was the last man out, caught in the deep by Kohli off Zaheer, but his runs came off a pedestrian 76 deliveries and he was not able to force the pace until Pakistan's victory bid became almost a lost cause.

All the Indian bowlers ended with two wickets each, with Zaheer moving above New Zealand's Tim Southee into second place in the overall standings behind Afridi, who has 21 in total for the tournament.