A semi-final spot was up for grabs on Saturday. A team which can win five games out of seven is likely to go through the last-four of the ICC Women’s World Cup but India let that chance go after suffering a 115-run defeat against South Africa women who won their third match out of five and took one step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals.
Asked to bat first, South Africa posted 273/8 in 50 overs after a stunning innings of 92 from Lizelle Lee and Dane van Niekerk’s 57 off 66 balls in the second part of the innings. India leaked 72 runs from last 10 overs after strangling South Africa in the middle overs.
When the chase began, India started with a maiden over. But, Smriti Mandhana, who had two big scores in the first two games for India, blasted a four off the first delivery she faced. That was it though. She picked out the deep square-leg fielder the next ball and India were 4 for 1 after eight deliveries.
India could never recover from that early blow and lost wickets at regular intervals. Leave aside a big partnership between Deepti Sharma and Jhulan Goswami for the eighth wicket, India batting was in shambles as the team lost their first game of the tournament after four consecutive wins.