White Ferns go down to England, miss final
Another World Cup, another story of disappointment for the New Zealand women's cricket team.
The major trophy drought stretches into its 13th year now after the White Ferns were shunted out of contention for the one-day World Cup in India today, losing by 15 runs to England in Mumbai.
As it transpired a win would not have mattered, anyway, as the West Indies pulled off an eight-run win against Australia in the earlier match across town to ensure their berth in Sunday's final, against the same opposition.
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 only make 164 against Australia, but the five-time champions bottled 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 in a heap, losing their next seven wickets for 41 runs and pulling up short at 251-9.
England and New Zealand will now play the most undesirable fixture in the tournament, the playoff for third, in Mumbai tomorrow night.
The Ferns have only themselves to blame in the overall scheme of things.
They were well beaten by Australia in pool play and though Monday's loss to the West Indies was heavily influenced by poor umpiring - some might say it was the decisive factor - they probably still would have had to beat England today to qualify for the final and they weren't up to the task.
Once again it was left to the run-scoring machine, captain Suzie Bates, to guide the way with the bat, continuing her excellent form at the World Cup.
She scored 79 from 94 balls opening the innings and although she finally got some support, in the form of Amy Satterthwaite who scored her second ODI hundred with 103 from 126 balls, it wasn't nearly enough.
The next highest score was Sophie Devine's 17, while extras chipped in with 16 as left-arm spinner Holly Colvin took 3-48.
Earlier, England's two best batsmen, Sarah Taylor and skipper Charlotte Edwards, set up the challenging target, Taylor scoring 88 from 79 balls and Edwards a more sedate 54 from 83.
Unlike New Zealand, England finished strongly as Heather Knight and Jenny Gunn blasted 38 runs from the final 19 balls.
Offspinning allrounder Lucy Doolan who, like Satterthwaite, returned to the side for this match after not featuring against the Windies, was the best of the Kiwi bowlers with 2-25 from six overs.
New Zealand last won a World Cup, one-day or Twenty20, in 2000 on home soil.