Christchurch – West Indies Women sneaked into the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand after South Africa Women clinched a last-ball thriller to beat India Women by three wickets on Sunday.
Chasing 275 to win at Hagley Oval, the South Africans got half-centuries from Laura Wolvaardt and Mignon du Preez – one which laid the foundation and other than took the Proteas women over the finish line – and sent the Indians crashing out of the tournament.
The result meant that the Windies Women finished the preliminary stage of the tournament in fourth on seven points – and they will join Australia Women, the South Africans, and defending champions England Women in the semi-finals.
Stafanie Taylor’s side will meet the Aussies at 6 p.m. (Barbados Time) on Tuesday in the first semi-final at the Basin Reserve in the New Zealand capital of Wellington.
Wolvaardt continued her rich vein of form and hit 11 fours in the top score of 80 from 79 balls and du Preez supported with 52 from 63 balls that included only two boundaries.
There was no shortage of drama, including a wicket that came from a no-ball off what was supposed to have been the penultimate ball, as the match went down to the wire.
Needing one run off the last ball, du Preez flicked a delivery from off-spinner Deepti Sharma over mid-wicket to take South Africa to formalise the result.
The Indian spinners bowled brilliantly to bring the team back into the match after a 125-run stand for the second wicket between Wolvaardt and Lara Goodall, but they could not get the team home.
Goodall made 49, Marizanne Kapp added 32, and captain Sune Luus supplied 22 to prop up the South Africa batting.
Harmanpreet Kaur and Rajeshwari Gayakwad took two wickets apiece in a defence that included three run outs.
Earlier, Smriti Mandhana led the way with 71, opening partner Shafali Verma cracked 53, and their captain Mithali Raj gathered 68, taking India to 274 for seven in their 50 overs after theyr decided to bat.
South Africa fought back in the closing overs, using the short and slower balls to great effect to put a lid on the Indian scoring, giving away only 51 in the last 10 overs.
Masabata Klaas and Shabnim Ismail grabbed two wickets each for the Proteas.
INDIA 274 for seven off 50 overs (Smriti Mandhana 71, Mithali Raj 68, Shafali Verma 53, Harmanpreet Kaur 48; Masabata Klaas 2-38, Shabnim Ismail 2-42).
SOUTH AFRICA 275 for seven off 50 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 80, Mignon du Preez 52 not out, Lara Goodall 49; Harmanpreet Kaur 2-42, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2-61).