Colombo, Oct 2 : In a quirk of fate, India today defeated South Africa by one run in a nailbiting finish, but failed to qualify to the ICC T20 World Cup semifinals as it failed to restrict the South African innings to 121. India lost out to Pakistan in net run rate as the latter entered the semifinal to meet Sri Lanka on Thursday.
The other semifinal on Friday will be between Australia and West Indies.
India recovered from 36 for 3 to post 152/5 in the alloted 20 overs, with none of the major batsmen, except Suresh Raina performing well.
In order to enter the semifinals, India had to restrict South Africa to 121 runs to get their net run rate ahead of Pakistan's +0.273. Before the start of the match, India were stuck at -0.452.
India stood a good to slim chance to enter the semis. Suresh Raina scored 45 runs off 34 balls while Yuvraj Singh made 21 runs off 15 balls. Captain MS Dhoni was unbeaten at 23 runs off 13 balls.
South Africa today appeared to be bent on crashing India's hopes to enter the semifinals.
Indian bowlers shone but it was too late. Zaheer Khan took 3 wickets for 22 runs, while L Balaji took 3 wickets for 37 runs.
It was South African F du Plessis who hit 65 runs and spoiled India's chances of making it to the semis. He hit six fours and two sixes.