COLOMBO: India failed to reach the World T20 semi-finals despite beating South Africa by one run in a gripping final Super Eight Group Two match on Tuesday.
A total of 152 for six was not enough for India because in the 17th over South Africa, who were also eliminated, passed the target of 121 that ensured group rivals Australia and Pakistan would move into the last four.
Hosts Sri Lanka will meet Pakistan in the first semi-final in Colombo on Thursday while Australia take on West Indies on Friday in the same stadium. The final is on Sunday.
India scratched their way past 150, boosted by a late burst from Suresh Raina (45) and captainMahendra Singh Dhoni (23 not out).
Raina’s 34-ball knock included five fours.
Morne Morkel and Robin Peterson grabbed two wickets each for South Africa who were already out of the tournament before the match started.
South Africa lost in-form opener Hashim Amla for a duck but thanks to Faf du Plessis’s rapid 65 they threatened a first Super Eight victory before falling just short, Zaheer Khan claiming three for 22 for India.
Lakshmispathy Balaji was twice hit for six in the final over but he also bowled Albie Morkel and his brother Morne to seal victory with one ball to spare.
Yuvraj Singh was named man of the match for taking two for 23 with the ball and hitting a 15-ball 21.
HARD TO DEFEND
Dhoni told reporters: “121 was quite a low target to defend”.
India suffered their only defeat in the competition in a rain-affected Super Eight game against Australia.
“We lost one game and lost it badly,” said Dhoni. “Let’s be practical about the reason for our elimination – it’s not the fault of the players.”
South Africa won both their round-robin matches in the opening round but then lost all three Super Eight games.
“We played poor cricket and I am really disappointed especially after all the support we got,” said captain AB de Villiers.
“It started against Pakistan. We got ourselves in a winning position and somehow managed to find a way to lose.” Agencies