India qualified for the Women’s T20 World Cup semi-finals with a five-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern win over Ireland in a rain-curtailed match in Gqeberha.
Ireland were 54-2 in the ninth over, chasing 156, when heavy rain forced an early end to the match.
The win means India join England in qualifying from Group 2.
Smriti Mandhana had earlier survived being dropped four times to hit a career-best 87 from 56 balls to help India reach 155-6.
England still top the group thanks to their superior net run-rate, meaning they are almost certain to progress as group winners – and therefore avoid holders Australia in the semi-finals – barring a heavy defeat against Pakistan on Tuesday.
Before the rain arrived, the strong winds blowing across St George’s Park made conditions in the middle extremely difficult, particularly for the fielders, with Ireland dropping five catches in total.
Mandhana made the most of her extra chances with a wonderful innings, smashing nine fours and three booming wind-assisted sixes over deep mid-wicket.
Ireland made an awful start to their reply, slipping to 1-2 when Amy Hunter was run out after the first ball of the innings before Orla Prendergast was bowled by Renuka Singh Thakur four balls later.
But a spritely 32 from 25 balls from Gaby Lewis and 17 from 20 by captain Laura Delany led something of a recovery, with Ireland within touching distance of the DLS par score when the rain arrived.
‘It was one of the toughest games I’ve played’ – reaction
Player of the match, India opener Smriti Mandhana: “It was one of the toughest games I’ve played, not in terms of the pitch but the pace and the wind as well. It got tougher than we thought.
“It was a lot of hard work in the first 30 balls and I thought I’d forgot how to bat! I told myself to just get in better positions to play shots.”
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur: “It was a good game for us. Smriti [Mandhana] got some runs, which is very important; whenever she is giving us that start we are able to utilise it and get a big total. It is good to see her getting runs.
“It means a lot to qualify. We’ve worked hard for many years and it’s good to see us getting another opportunity in the semi-finals.”
Ireland captain Laura Delany: “[The rain delay] kind of came out of nowhere and we weren’t really prepared for it. We hadn’t looked at the DLS score at all, myself and Gaby [Lewis] were only looking to build a partnership and hit boundaries.
“In 2018, it wasn’t a level playing field. Cricket Ireland have invested hugely and we’re on contracts now. We’ve gone from strength to strength, even if there are areas to improve on.”