Another women's World Cup dream shattered
The bowlers did their bit but the batsmen failed to support Suzie Bates when it mattered, so the White Ferns' major cricket trophy drought stretches into its 13th year.
"It's just unfortunate that in the big games, our top five didn't really stand up," said Bates, who was too modest to excuse herself after New Zealand's one-day World Cup hopes vanished yesterday.
The captain certainly stood up, scoring 386 runs from six matches at 77.20, including one century and three half-centuries. That's 77 runs more than the next highest scorer at the tournament, Stafanie Taylor of the West Indies, and 165 runs more than the third highest scorer, Australian Rachel Haynes.
The problem was that the other batsmen failed to follow suit.
Amy Satterthwaite cracked 103 in yesterday's 15-run loss to England in Mumbai but scored just 11 runs in her first four innings. Sophie Devine made a brilliant 145 against South Africa in pool play but tallied 64 from her other four innings.
Lucy Doolan, Sara McGlashan, Katie Perkins, Frances Mackay and Nicola Browne scored 301 runs between them, from 19 combined innings.
There just wasn't enough consistency from the top order.
As it transpired, a win against England in their final Super Six match would not have mattered, anyway, as the West Indies pulled off an eight-run victory over Australia in the earlier match to ensure their berth in Sunday's final, against the same opposition, in Mumbai.
It will be the Windies' first final appearance, underlining their new-found status as a world force in women's cricket.
New Zealand had to beat England, and hope Australia maintained their unbeaten record at the tournament, to make the final, and for a long time in both matches it looked a likely scenario. The Windies could make only 164 against Australia, but the five-time champions failed in the run chase and were all out for 156 in the 49th over.
New Zealand were 194-2 in the 41st over, chasing England's tally of 266-6, but collapsed, losing their next seven wickets for 41 runs and pulling up short at 251-9.
England and New Zealand now play the most redundant fixture in the tournament, the playoff for third, in Mumbai tonight.
At least the New Zealand bowlers can hold their heads high, with five of them - Lea Tahuhu, Sian Ruck, Morna Nielsen, Rachel Candy and Mackay - boasting averages below 20 and economy rates below four runs per over.
New Zealand last won a World Cup, ODI or Twenty20, on home soil in 2000. Fairfax NZ
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