NAGPUR, India (AFP) - The West Indies secured a berth in the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a nerve-jangling three wicket win over South Africa on Friday after Australia dumped Pakistan out of the tournament.
Darren Sammy’s Windies successfully chased down a target of 123 with just two balls to spare for a third consecutive Group One victory, becoming the second team to qualify for the last four after New Zealand.
“We came here to win this match and qualify, and we’ve done that, so we’re really happy,” Sammy said after his side’s victory at Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
The skipper admitted he was feeling “butterflies” as the Windies made hard work of it towards the end, going into the last over requiring nine runs to win.
Carlos Brathwaite hit a massive six before precocious fast bowler Kagiso Rabada bowled a wide. Brathwaite then grabbed a quick run before Denesh Ramdin carried the Windies over the line with a single.
Marlon Samuels had earlier made 44 as the 2012 winners appeared to be heading for a comfortable victory, only for Imran Tahir to take two wickets in the 17th over and ensure a nervous finish.
It was South Africa’s second defeat of the tournament and means England can secure a berth in the semis at their expense with a win against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis rued his side’s poor total of 122 for eight after Sammy won the toss and elected to field first.
“It felt like the whole game we were half a step behind West Indies and we were trying to catch up the whole time,” Du Plessis said.
Quinton de Kock top-scored for the Proteas with 47 while David Wiese notched 28 after South Africa’s top-order batsmen collapsed.
Opener Hashim Amla made one, du Plessis scored nine and AB de Villiers managed 10.
The defeat was the Proteas’ second of the competition after losing to England in their opening match and they now face the prospect of a humiliating group-stage exit.
In Group Two earlier Friday James Faulkner took a record five-wicket haul after Steve Smith hit an unbeaten half century to help Australia post a 21-run win over Pakistan in Mohali.
The victory means Australia remain in the hunt for a place in next week’s semi-finals with two wins from three matches and sets up an effective knock-out tie against India on Sunday.
However, it meant an early flight home for Pakistan, the 2009 winners.
The stage for a comfortable Australian win was set by an unbeaten 61-run knock from skipper Smith who shared key stands with Shane Watson (44 not out) and Glenn Maxwell (30) to rescue his side from a shaky 57-3.
Faulkner took four wickets from his last six balls and also accounted for the dangerous Sharjeel Khan (30) to finish with 5-27, the best figures by an Australian in a T20 international.
Pakistan could only manage 172-8 in reply to Australia’s strong 193-4 on a docile track in Mohali.
“Honestly, we were simply not good enough,” dejected Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who will now decide on his international future, conceded after the game.
Faulkner said Australia’s quest for the elusive World Twenty20 trophy was now back on track. They will take on India on Sunday in what is now effectively a quarter-final, as whoever wins will enter the final four.
“We have played well all summer back home. We showed what we can do with the bat. Looking forward to the next game against India, who are a tough opponent at home. We should be up for the challenge,” he said.