Harmanpreet does a Dhoni, helps Indian eves stun South Africa

With eight needed in the last two balls, Harmanpreet Kaur picked up a six and a double to help Indian eves defeat South Africa by one wicket in the final of the Women's World Cup Qualifiers.

Harmanpreet Kaur

India's Harmanpreet Kaur plays a shot against South Africa on Tuesday.   -  AP

And you thought, only Mahendra Singh Dhoni could finish off a game in style. It seems, the Indian eves too have drawn inspiration from the former India captain when it comes to pulling off cliff-hangers.

For a long time, South African eves would remember a name — Harmanpreet Kaur. After all, it’s because of the batswoman from Moga that Indian eves pulled off a one-wicket victory against the South African side in the final of the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, that too in the last ball.

Just when a win looked quite bleak for India, stand-in skipper Harmanpreet did the star turn in the final over, picking up a six and a double to ensure that her side had the last laugh.

And for those present at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Tuesday, it was an afternoon to remember as Harmanpreet’s gritty knock of 41 off 44 deliveries helped India overcome the South African challenge despite early slip-ups. After winning the toss and opting to bat first, South Africa amassed 244 in 49.4 overs to put pressure on the Indians.

After losing opener Thirush Kamini early on, Mona Meshram (59) and Deepti Sharma (71) added 124-runs in the second-wicket. Things, however, changed a little after Sharma’s exit. In the absence of experienced Mithali Raj, the young guns fumbled in the middle, adding to India’s woes. It lost three wickets in four balls, triggering panic.

But Harmanpreet stood firm to ensure that the team left the stadium with a smile. With eight required from the last two deliveries, Harmanpreet sent Marcia Letsoalo over the deep mid-wicket fence. Harmanpreet, along with non-striking partner Rajeshwari Gayakwad went for a quick double off the final ball.

With this victory, India remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. Both India and South Africa, however, have already made it to the main rounds of the Women’s World Cup, to be held later this year.

Brief scores:

South Africa: 244 in 49.4 overs (Mignon du Preez 40, Dane van Niekerk 37, Lizelle Lee 37; Rajeshwari Gayakwad 3/51) lost to India 245-9 in 50 overs (Deepti Sharma 71, Mona Meshram 59, Harmanpreet Kaur 41 not out; Ayabonga Khaka 2/55) by 1 wicket