South Africa scraped their way into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy on superior net run-rate after their rain-marred match against the West Indies in Cardiff on Friday ended in an extraordinary tie.

The West Indies, who had to win this match to go through to the last four, were exactly level on the Duckworth/Lewis system for rain-affected matches at 190 for six off 26.1 overs.

But Australian umpires Rod Tucker and Steve Davis then decided the rain was too heavy to continue and took the players off the field for the final time at 7.43pm local time (1843 GMT).

Crucially, off what turned out to be the last ball of the match, with West Indies then ahead of their D/L target, Kieron Pollard was caught for 28 by Dale Steyn at third man off Ryan McLaren and his exit swung the match back to parity.

The Proteas joined already-qualified India as one of the two semi-finalists from Group B.

'Chokers'

For South Africa, often dubbed 'chokers' - a charge levelled at them by West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo on Thursday - for throwing away promising positions, this result was in marked contrast to some dramatic exits from previous global tournaments.

For example, their 1999 World Cup semi-final tie with Australia at Edgbaston, saw South Africa go out following a pool loss to the Aussies.

And in 2003 the Proteas, then the World Cup hosts, bowed out when a failure to correctly interpret the D/L sheet saw them tie with Sri Lanka, rather than win, in Durban.

South Africa opener Colin Ingram was named man-of-the-match for his 73 off 63 balls, including two sixes and six fours.

His innings was at the heart of a Proteas total of 230 for six in a rain-reduced 31 overs.

Proteas fast bowler Dale Steyn, playing his first match of the tournament following a side strain, saw his initial delivery driven for four by Chris Gayle.

But Gayle, renowned as one of the hardest-hitters and fastest scorers in world cricket, fell for 36 when Chris Morris produced a sharply seaming delivery that 'stopped' in the pitch which the powerful left-hander could only guide to Faf du Plessis at point.

Marlon Samuels smashed a six and two fours off three successive McLaren deliveries before handing out similar treatment to Robin Peterson as he scored 31 runs off just nine balls.

But having just pulled a short ball from Steyn for four, next ball the speedster out-thought him with a full-length delivery that knocked out his middle stump.

Samuels' 48 took just 38 balls, including two sixes and six fours.

The West Indies scored 72 runs off seven overs before Pollard fell.

Immediately afterwards, the umpires took the players off to leave the West Indies, the World Twenty20 champions, with a sinking feeling all too familiar to many South Africans.

Scores in brief

South Africa 230-6, 31 overs (C Ingram 73)
West Indies 190-6, 26.1 overs
Result: Match tied, South Africa into semi-finals on superior net run-rate

Source: AFP