Indian players look on during a third umpire referral against South Africa in the Super Eights encounter at the Premadasa StadiumReuters

India crashed out of the World T20, after failing to restrict South Africa to below 121 - the magical number that would have put the Men in Blue through to the semi-finals at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

India could beat South Africa by only one run, which saw Australia and Pakistan, who comprehensively beat the Aussies in the early game, book their place in the last-four, where they will meet West Indies and Sri Lanka respectively. Australia, Pakistan and India finished on four points from three games, but the first two went through due to a better nett run rate.

A poor batting performance from the Indians saw them finish on 152, when they needed to score nearer 180-190 to stand any chance of making the semis. South Africa, who saw their slim chances of making the semis end after Pakistan's victory, finished on 151 for nine, reaching the 121 target in the fourth ball of the 17th over, making the rest of the game academic.

The nett run rate came into play after Pakistan beat the Aussies by a massive 32 runs. Chasing a total of 150, the Aussies, who needed only 112, never really looked interested in chasing down the target; George Bailey's men happy to take their time and ensure they made 112, which they did eventually ending up on 117 for seven from their 20 overs.

That big win for the Pakistanis meant, India, who batted first after South Africa chose to field, needed to put up a big total and then restrict the Proteas to around thirty runs short of their total.

Therefore, a sizeable score was absolutely essential, but the Indian openers yet again failed to sparkle. Gautam Gambhir was the first man out - playing on off Morne Morkel -- the Delhiite has now gotten out in a similar fashion more times than one can remember.

Virender Sehwag threatened to play one of those blazing innings, which is becoming increasingly rare on the international circuit nowadays, but irresponsibly got out while trying to play one shot too many - that too right after he had blasted a six off Robin Peterson.

Virat Kohli failed for once, but it is unfair to expect the youngster to bail India out time after time. The Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman was the second Indian wicket to fall, edging a delivery to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers down the leg side.

After Sehwag  got out, soon after Kohli's wicket, Yuvraj Singh (in 15) and Rohit Sharma (25 off 27) put on the first meaningful partnership of 32 runs - Yuvraj, particularly, was looking good, smashing a couple of really good looking sixes.

But the stylish left-hander, like he has all tournament, flattered to deceive although his comeback is still remarkable with what he has been through, seeing his timber disturbed by Morne Morkel. Suresh Raina, who was India's top scorer with 45 from 34 deliveries, came in and gave Sharma good company, but the impetus required to take the score to a different level never arrived.

MS Dhoni (23 off 13) came in at the death and hit a couple of typically powerful blows, taking the score to 152, which never looked like it was going to be enough.

India started their bowling spell well enough, packing off the openers -- Hashim Amla for a duck and Jacques Kallis for six.

However, with just 121 essentially to defend, it only required one decent innings from a South African batsman, and that was provided by Dhoni's Chennai Super King teammate Faf Du Plessis.

The right-hander played a quickfire 65 from 38 balls, packed with six fours and two sixes, with it pretty much ending India's chances off pulling off an improbable 31-run victory.

Sri Lanka will take on Pakistan in the semi-final on Thursday, with Australian facing the West Indies in Friday's last-four match.