Australia will play the West Indies and South Africa will play England in the semifinals of the Women’s Cricket World Cup after the makeup of the top four was finally decided 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 52 not out and lead South Africa to a three-wicket win over India. In doing so, South Africa snuffed out India’s semifinal 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 favor. 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 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 semifinal 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 semifinal place if India had won but South Africa’s win kept their tournament alive.