White Ferns to face Aus after crushing loss to England

The White Ferns floundered with the bat, making just 71 runs. Photo: Getty Images
The White Ferns floundered with the bat, making just 71 runs. Photo: Getty Images
Fortunately for the White Ferns, they were already assured a semifinal spot before their destruction by England.

The bad news, however, is now they have to play Australia.

New Zealand warmed up for the medal rounds in the worst possible fashion at Edgbaston today, losing to the hosts by seven wickets.

The problem wasn't just the margin of the defeat - though that was less than ideal - but the manner.

The White Ferns staggered to 71-9 after winning the toss and choosing to bat, a decision that looked ill-considered within four balls.

The top order was scythed through, the middle order offered little and the lower order batted for time when runs were desperately needed.

It all added up to New Zealand's third-lowest total in T20 internationals, removing some of the gloss from the competitive scores they posted in wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka to begin the tournament.

In reply, there would only ever be one result, the sole question remaining was how quickly England would reach their target.

And despite Fran Jonas striking in the first over of the chase, the answer soon became clear, the hosts roared on to reach their target in the 12th over.

The White Ferns' penalty for playing their worst cricket in Birmingham will be a match against the best team in the world.

Australia, naturally, advanced unbeaten through pool play, being pushed by India before crushing Barbados and Pakistan.

They began the Commonwealth Games as heavy favourites to add this T20 crown to the ODI World Cup they won earlier this year in New Zealand, and nothing about the last week has changed that status.

The White Ferns have two days to forget about this defeat and somehow find a way to topple Australia, or they will face a bronze-medal match against the loser of the other semifinal between England and India.

New Zealand will certainly need a radically improved performance from their recognised batters to stand a chance.

Skipper Sophie Devine saw her leg stump sent cartwheeling in the opening over but she, like Amelia Kerr, was at least the victim of a peach from England bowler Katherine Brunt, who finished with figures of 2-4 from three overs.

Suzie Bates, who began the tournament with a brilliant 91 against South Africa, sent a simple catch to midwicket with a nonchalant flick. Brooke Halliday ran herself out in comical fashion before Hayley Jensen fell to an ugly off-side hack.

That marked the halfway point of the innings, with the White Ferns on 35-5 and boasting only two boundaries to their name.

They would collect just two more in the next 10 overs, as Maddy Green top scored with 19 from 24 balls before the tailenders oddly elected to occupy the crease rather than go down swinging.

That left England to chase a straightforward target and, despite Kerr picking up a couple of wickets, left New Zealand to tackle the most unenviable task in cricket.

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