Colombo: Riding on all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur's late-order heroics with the willow, India pipped South Africa by one wicket in a nail-biting Women's cricket World Cup qualifier final at the P. Sara Oval on Tuesday.
Chasing a decent 245, India were on course with opener Mona Meshram (59) and Deepti Sharma (71) striking a 124-run second wicket stand to set the tone before Harmanpreet's run-a-ball unbeaten 41 runs helped the side recover from a mini-collapse and get over the line.
While Meshram's 82-ball knock was laced with seven boundaries and a six, Deepti consumed 89 balls and hit eight fours in her innings. Top order batswoman Veda Krishnamurthy, who came in after the Deepti's fall contributed with a 27-ball 31 containing three boundaries.
With India needing 36 runs from the last six overs, medium pacer Ayabonga Khaka turned the tide in favour of South Africa picking two quick wickets and reduce India to 237/9.
However, Harmanpreet, who played in the women's Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia this season, used all her experience to handle the situation and steer India over the line in the last ball of the innings.
Earlier, electing to bat after winning the toss, South Africa rode on Mignon du Preez (40), Lizelle Lee (37), skipper Dane Van Niekerk (37) and Sune Luus (35) to post 244 in 49.4 overs.
For India, left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad took three wickets giving away 51 runs while medium pacer Shikha Pandey picked 2/41. Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav and Deepti Sharma took one wicket apiece.
Brief Scores: South Africa 244 (Mignon du Preez 40, Lizelle Lee 37, Dane Van Niekerk 37, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/51, Shikha Pandey 2/41) lose to India 245/9 (Deepti Sharma 71, Mona Meshram 59, Harmanpreet Kaur 41 not out, Marizzane Kapp 2/36) by one wicket.