White Ferns go down in poorly umpired match
New Zealand's hopes of featuring in the final at the women's cricket World Cup hang by a thread thanks largely to a dreadful umpiring display in a 48-run loss to the West Indies in Mumbai last night.
Chasing 208 for victory, New Zealand lost four of their first seven wickets to woeful leg before decisions - three from Indonesian umpire Shahul Hameed and one from Indian Vineet Kulkarni - which essentially had them out of the game at 101-7 in the 31st over.
The Windies completed the inevitable in the 45th over, rolling New Zealand for 159 to hammer a huge dent in New Zealand's chances of featuring in Sunday's final against Australia and complete their first ever ODI win over the Kiwis.
The White Ferns will have to beat England on Wednesday night and hope Australia can beat the Windies to have any chance of making the final. It would then come down to net run-rate between New Zealand and the West Indies.
New Zealand were right in the game after restricting the West Indies to 207-9, but with three of their top six batsmen sawn off by utterly poor decisions, they have every right to grumble.
Opener Frances Mackay (4) was fired out by Hameed when a Treymayne Smartt inswinger was missing leg stump, key player Sophie Devine (9) was given out by the same umpire despite clearly hitting the ball, Nicola Browne (9) was hit outside the line of off stump while playing a shot but was triggered by Kulkarni, and Kate Broadmore (8) was fired out by Hameed when the ball would have gone close to missing another set of stumps.
Tellingly, the West Indies wicket-keeper didn't even appeal for the last one.
There is no Decision Review System in place for the World Cup. Had there been, all four decisions would have been overturned and Hameed, in particular, could have gone to sleep tonight knowing his shoddy performance didn't affect the outcome of the match.
Interestingly, the Indonesian hasn't umpired a men's ODI since 2007 and had not umpired at international level for three years before this tournament which, like the lack of DRS, begs the question of how seriously the International Cricket Council are taking the tournament.
New Zealand took regular wickets throughout the first innings to restrict the Windies to 207-9 from their 50 overs.
Opening bowler Sian Ruck picked up two early scalps from leg before wicket decisions en route to innings figures of 2-32 from 10 overs, while left-arm spinner Morna Nielsen did a fine job in the middle stages with 3-27 from her 10 overs.
The Windies' best player, Stafanie Taylor, held the first part of the innings together with a classy 49 from 53 balls before she was nicked out by Bates.
Shanel Daley (37 from 64 balls) and Anisa Mohammed (31 not out from 32) then rallied late, adding 45 crucial runs from just 37 balls for the ninth wicket to turn a modest total into something defendable.
Taylor was also effective with the ball, taking 2-26 from 10 overs with her offspin, while Smartt benefitted from two of the dodgy lbws to claim 3-39 from nine.
Wicketkeeper Rachel Priest top-scored for New Zealand with 36 while Bates made 30.
Which batting pair would be best at opening in ODIs for the Black Caps?