S. Africa break Indian hearts as England, Windies make semis

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Holders England won their last group match in style and West Indies benefited from South Africa’s thrilling victory over India on Sunday to make the Women’s World Cup semi-finals.

Meg Lanning’s Australia, who finished the group campaign with a perfect 7-0 record, had already secured their place in the last four.

South Africa were also assured of a semi-final spot heading into the match against India who needed victory to pip West Indies to the knockout stage of the tournament.

India began well after half-centuries from openers Smriti Mandhana (71) and Shafali Verma (53) and an assured 68 by captain Mithali Raj powered them to 274-7, even though they lacked a late flourish.

Laura Wolvaardt (80) and Lara Goodall (49) led South Africa’s chase, but it was Mignon du Preez’s unbeaten 52 that secured their three-wicket victory on the last ball of the game in Christchurch.

Du Preez was caught at long-on in the final over but was recalled after replays confirmed spinner Deepti Sharma had overstepped.

“The girls have given it all knowing the importance of today’s game,” Mithali said after the 2017 runners-up crashed out. “It was a good game, good for the sport but it ends our campaign.”

The outcome triggered wild celebration in the West Indies dressing room, but they face a mammoth task against top-ranked Australia in Wednesday’s semi-final in Wellington.

England will meet South Africa in the second semi-final on Thursday in Christchurch.

Heather Knight’s team thumped Bangladesh by 100 runs to make the last four in a remarkable turnaround after beginning their title defence with three successive defeats.

England rode on Sophia Dunkley’s 72-ball 67 to post 234-6 and Sophie Ecclestone (3-15) led the attack as they bundled out Bangladesh for 134.

“I’m really pleased. I probably would have liked a few more runs, 250-260, but the wicket was very slow,” said Knight. “It says a lot about this group, the way we’ve turned things round. Not getting too down, we were on the wrong end of a few close ones.”

Brief Scores: 

India: 274/7 (Mandhana 71, Raj 68, Verma 53, Harmanpreet 48, Klaas 2-38, Ismail 2-42) 

South Africa: 275 for 7 (Wolvaardt 80, du Preez 52, Goodall 49, Kapp 32, Harmanpreet 2-42, Gayakwad 2-61) 

 (Reuters)