Aust­ralia will play the West Indies and South Africa will play England in the semi-finals of the Women’s Cricket World Cup after the makeup of the top four was finally decided on Sunday on the last ball of the last match in the league stage.

Mignon du Preez hit the winning run from the final ball of the final over of the final match to finish on 52 not out and lead South Africa to a three-wicket win over India. In doing so, South Africa snuffed out India’s semi-final hopes in the cruelest of circumstances.

Du Preez was caught in the deep with three runs required and two balls remaining, in a moment which seemed to swing the match in India’s favour. She was walking from the field when the umpires consulted the television official and determined that Deepti Sharma, who was bowling the last over from which seven runs were needed, had over-stepped.

The decision reprieved du Preez, gave South Africa a run, another ball and a free hit and they took the opportunity to clinch a win that crushed India’s hopes of reaching the final for the second consecutive tournament.

“I think we can feel sure that the girls have given their all, knowing the importance of the game today,” India captain Mithali Raj said. “It will probably take some time to settle the emotions. It was just a good game from both sides. I mean it went to the last ball and it’s good for the sport but for the India team it ends our campaign.”

South Africa’s win also secured a semi-final place for the West Indies who were powerless spectators to the events of the final day. After completing the league matches, they were in third place with seven points behind unbeaten Australia and South Africa who both had qualified.

The West Indies would have been denied a semi-final place if India had won but South Africa’s win kept their tournament alive.

India set South Africa a more challenging total, reaching 274-7 as they batted first at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Smitri Mandhana made 71 and set the tone of the innings with her opening partner Shafali Verma who made 53 from 46 balls. Mithali Raj made 68 and Harmanpreet Kaur 48.

South Africa then pulled off the second-highest successful run chase at a World Cup. Laura Wolfaardt, the leading scorer at the tournament, made 80 to set the platform for the innings. But it fell to du Preez, who has been short of runs in recent matches, to guide her team home.

“It means the world,” du Preez said. “It’s been a tough few weeks when I havent contributed the way I would like. But to do it when it matters and take the momentum to the semifinal, I’d take that every day of the week.”

The outcome triggered wild celebration in the West Indies dressing room but they face a mammoth task against top-ranked Australia on Wednesday. England will meet South Africa on Thursday in Christchurch.


South Africa beat India by three wickets.

INDIA 274-7 in 50 overs (S. Mandhana 71, M. Raj 68, S. Verma 53; Klaas 2-38, Ismail 2-42);

SOUTH AFRICA 275-7 in 50 overs (L. Wolvaardt 80, M. du Preez 52, L. Goodall 49; Kaur 2-42).


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