India failed to qualify for the semifinals of the women's hockey competition in the 20th Commonwealth Games after going down 2-3 to South Africa in a keenly-contested must-win group match, in Glasgow on Wednesday.
The Indian women put up a valiant fight and created numerous scoring chances in the second half, only to be denied by a resolute South African defence, to finish in the third position in Group A.
Toppers New Zealand and South Africa have qualified for the semifinals from Group A. South Africa scored through Tarryn Bright (14th minute), Dirkie Chamberlain (35th) and Illse Davids (54th), while Jaspreet Kaur (34th) and Rani Rampal (59th) were the goal getters for India.
It was a battle between two evenly matched teams but the 11th ranked South Africans dominated the contest in the opening half.
The Indian girls showed glimpses of their skill but failed to convert their build-ups into meaningful chances.
Both India and South Africa earned as many as six penalty corners in the match but could utilise just one each.
South Africa took the lead in the 14th minute when Bright scored from a variation from their first penalty corner.
India earned as many as three penalty corners in the opening half thereafter but failed to convert a single one.
But, in the final minutes of the first half, India were awarded a penalty stroke, which was beautifully converted by Jaspreet to level the scores.
India's joy was shortlived as they conceded a soft goal in the next minute when an unmarked Chamberlain scored from close range as New Zealand went into the breather with a 2-1 lead. After the change of ends, South Africa earned two penalty corners in quick succession, but wasted both.
However, Davids scored from a rebound in the 54th minute after Dammons' initial shot was saved by Indian goalie Savita to increase South Africa's lead.
Trailing 1-3, India went all out with persistent raids and in the process earned a penalty corner which was converted by Rani with a slap shot.
Needing two more goals in 15 odd minutes, India stepped up the pressure on the South African goal, but the Proteas backline stood tall to seal their place in the last-four stage.